Care home residents should be supported to clean their teeth twice a day or their dentures daily, according to draft recommendations revealed today.
Care homes should also assess the oral health needs of their residents and record these in personal care plans, said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
“Supporting good daily oral health care in care homes varies enormously”
This assessment should include establishing how the resident usually manages their daily mouth care – for example, toothbrushing and type of toothbrush.
Staff should also check whether residents need support, if they have dentures – including partial ones – the name and address of their dentist or any dental service they have had contact with, how long ago they saw a dentist and help them find one if needed.
The proposed requirements are published in a draft NICE quality standard designed to improve oral health in care homes and hospitals.
NICE pointed to a report from Public Health England that suggested just 61% of care homes in the West Midlands carried out oral health assessments on admission.
Likewise, the PHE report, which was published in December 2015, suggested 77% of care homes in the North West included oral health in the overall care plan.
Professor Elizabeth Kay, foundation dean of Peninsula Dental School at Plymouth University and a member of the group that developed the draft guidance, said: “Looking after someone’s mouth should be as much a part of the care expected as ensuring their personal hygiene and providing adequate clean clothing.
“Helping care home residents with this basic daily routine maintains not only their oral health but, just as importantly, enhances their dignity and self-esteem,” she said.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “We know that supporting good daily oral health care in care homes varies enormously across the country.
“This draft quality standard prioritises assessment of care home residents, recording of plans and ensuring support is in place for those who need it,” she said.
“We are confident that such simple measures could substantially improve the quality of life of many people living in care homes,” she added.
The draft quality standard also asks stakeholders to highlight any evidence-based guidance that could be used to develop a statement on daily mouth care in hospitals.
Consultation on the draft quality standard for oral health in care homes and hospitals is open until 3 February.
NICE, along with the Social Care Institute for Excellence, has also produced a quick guide resource for care home managers to help them improve the oral health of adults in their care homes.
The draft quality standard on oral health in care homes and hospitals consists of the following statements:
Statement 1 – Adults who move into a care home have their mouth care needs assessed on admission
Statement 2 – Adults living in care homes have their mouth care needs recorded in their personal care plan
Statement 3 – Adults living in care homes are supported to clean their teeth twice a day or undertake daily oral care for dentures
Statement 4 – Supporting daily mouth care for people in hospital