The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) has welcomed a new report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which highlights the poor provision of oral health care in residential care homes.
Around 400,000 people in the UK live in care homes, and a NICE Quality Standard published in 2017 recommends that residents are supported to clean their teeth and/or dentures daily, and have their oral health needs assessed on admission and recorded in their personal care plans.
However the health inspectorate’s Smiling Matters study of 100 care homes finds that one in six do not assess residents' oral health on admission, 52% do not have an oral health plan for residents, and 47% of staff had not received training in oral health care. Care homes specialising in dementia, which affects up to 70% of care home residents, were even less likely to have considered oral health needs. A third of homes also said they could not always access dental care for their residents.
Dr Paul Batchelor, editor of FGDP(UK)’s Dementia-Friendly Dentistry guidance, was a member of the NICE advisory committee which developed the quality standard, and is the Faculty’s representative on the CQC advisory group on oral health in care homes. Commenting on the publication of Smiling Matters, he said:
"The Faculty has been working since 2013 to support improvement in oral health care arrangements for older members in society. We welcome the CQC’s publication, which reinforces the need for improvement by care home providers, while recognising the wider determinants and highlighting the need for the health and care sectors to work together.
“We should also remember that the majority of those with dementia, almost 500,000 people, are living in the community rather than in residential care or nursing homes. GDPs and practice teams may therefore wish to consult our guidance on dementia-friendly dentistry, which is available free of charge at fgdp.org.uk, and enables them to understand dementia and its implications for dental practice, patient management and clinical decision-making.”