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Smiling Matters

Smiling Matters
31 July 2019

This is the title of a report CQC have just brought out looking at Oral care in care homes which caught my attention. Now the state of the nation’s children’s teeth does make headlines and rightly so. Rarely though does the condition of are older people’s teeth get any attention.

I have long been concerned as to how we are going to look after are older patients in later life. Less of them now have full dentures which is great, but this means they have more complex dental needs going forward. They maybe quite able to look after a heavily restored mouth of natural teeth when they are fit and well but what about if they have dementia or need to go into a nursing home?

The commission’s report involved them visiting 100 nursing homes with a dentist accompanying the inspector. They found 52% have no policy to promote oral health and 47% have not trained staff in how to help residents looking after their teeth.
This needs to change. As the report’s title says smiling matters. As does being comfortable and being able to eat well.

So, what can you do? Encourage your older relatives to keep up with their dental care and visit their dentist regularly. If you are helping to plan a move to a home suggest a dental visit before they move in. When visiting relatives have a look does the toothbrush look used? Ask staff about oral care.

As we live longer, we can be high maintenance! That said a natural dentition is well worth the effort.

If you have any questions about oral care for older people do give us a call or e-mail us.

Sharon Jardine