FGDP welcomes new guidance on oral care and people with learning disabilities

News Published: 
15 March 2019

The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) would like to make its members aware of new guidance from Public Health England on oral care and people with learning disabilities, which is relevant to General Dental Practitioners.

The guidance cites evidence that people with learning disabilities have greater unmet oral health needs and poorer access to dental services, and that they experience less preventative dentistry than the general population. Detailing the risk factors, and the barriers to good oral health and dental care for this population group, it provides advice on how to make reasonable adjustments, describing what is known to work at an individual and service level.

Paul Batchelor, the Faculty’s lead on Dental Public Health, commented:

“We welcome this new guidance on oral care for this vulnerable patient group. While the main thrust of the recommendations – promoting good oral hygiene and healthy dietary habits - is the same as for other patient groups, GDPs may find the wider considerations, and the signposted resources and examples of good practice, particularly useful.

"However, NHS practices should be aware that even though one of the key barriers to seeking care is cost, the advice unfortunately does not cover how they can help patients with learning difficulties identify whether they are exempt from charges in order to make correct claims.”

The new guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oral-care-and-people-with-learning-disabilities.