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Oral health is a vital part of general health and wellbeing. A healthy mouth and teeth are not only essential to eat, speak and socialise with ease but also help to prevent other illnesses from getting worse.
Common oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can be prevented and controlled through good oral hygiene and healthy eating habits. Vulnerable patient groups including the elderly, the homeless, those with dementia, learning disabilities, mental health issues, alcohol and substance misuse, or complex medical needs often suffer from poor oral health and may face barriers in accessing dental services for treatment and prevention. Furthermore, these groups may require tailored support from their carers with their daily oral care regimen.
The Whittington NHS Trust Community Dental Services and its Oral Health Promotion team, work in partnership with Islington care homes to ensure the homes meet the oral health guidance and standards set by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE) and the Care Quality Commission(CQC).
Islington care homes follow a model oral health programme in line with NICE, PHE guidelines and CQC standards. The four main oral health standard outcomes for the care homes are:
- Oral health risk assessment: used to assess all resident’s oral health status on their admission to the homes in order to create a personalised oral care plan. This should be reviewed monthly.
- Daily oral care records: used to record oral and/or denture care provided to each resident twice daily. Non-compliance and any other issues must be recorded here as well.
- Referral pathway to dental services: Residents must have access to dental services and staff must be aware of the referral process. This could be to the local community dental services or local general dental practices
- Staff training in oral health and care: All care and nursing staff must undertake annual training in best practice oral care. Staff must recognise and respond to signs and symptoms of dental pain, oral discomfort etc. and be able to flag to senior staff in order to arrange dental appointments efficiently.
In addition, the care home residents receive high fluoride prescription-only toothpaste (Duraphat 2800) delivered from the Whittington Oral health promotion team.
The team provide and share evidence-based oral-health initiatives, as recommended by Delivering Better Oral Health (DBOH), NICE guidance and CQC, with fellow multidisciplinary health and social care partners.
Oral health training for staff includes several themes, such as
- oral care CQC outcomes
- oral care and hygiene
- special oral care aids
- diet and oral health
- risk factors links between oral and chronic health conditions
- referral pathways for dental services
For training or any other queries, contact Farheen Naqvi in the oral health promotion team.
The Whittington Health Community Dental Service is a referral dental service for vulnerable patient groups who cannot access high street general dental practices.
Further information, including clinic locations and details of referral forms can be found on the Community Dental Service page.
For existing patients of Whittington Health Community Dental Services that have an urgent dental problem, contact the service in the usual way for dental advice.
t: 020 3316 8353
For other residents who need urgent dental treatment, you are advised to:
- Contact the patient’s own dentist for advice.
- If they do not have a dentist/you can’t speak to one for advice, then you should call NHS111.