A pilot programme to improve dental care for older patients has been deemed a success in its first year, with more than 100 care homes signing up.
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has delivered training to 800 care home staff to provide fluoride for residents to prevent further tooth decay.
Staff are trained to be more aware of their resident’s dental health and the service also offers fluoride application twice a year, which is administered in gel form by an extended duty dental nurse.
The fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay and reducing the amount of acid that is produced on your teeth.
The Northamptonshire team hopes to visit around 25 more homes before the end of the pilot scheme.
Denise Birkett, one of the trust’s oral health promotion practitioners, has been leading the training for care home staff.
She said: “We are delighted with the success of this scheme, which has had a significant impact on both the knowledge of care home staff around the importance of ensuring good oral health for their residents, and has also been received positively by the residents themselves.
“The high number of care home staff who have received the training will now be able to share their awareness of older people’s oral health with colleagues, residents and relatives,” she said.
“Most toothpastes contain fluoride, and the majority of people get their fluoride this way. However, as people get older, their teeth can become more prone to dental decay and tooth wear,” she added.
Jancy Mathew, nurse in charge at the Raunds Lodge home, said: “Our staff had the training with Denise and found it very useful.
Kerry Morgan, registered manager of Highmead House in Irthlingborough, one of the first care homes to take part in the scheme, added: “The fluoride project has made a huge difference to oral hygiene within the home.”
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