Oral health for adults in care homes – NICE Guideline update

Published: 11 July 2016

An updated guideline on oral health for adults in care homes has recently been released by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The guidance (which is laid out in full here) sets out steps which should be taken to ensure that oral health is held in the same regard as a resident’s general health and wellbeing. Points include setting up “mouth care plans” for each resident and making sure that oral health is included in general health policies.

In an interview with Onmedica Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “Whilst some care homes provide good daily oral health for their residents, we know oral health is too often neglected. When oral health is ignored or poorly delivered in care homes it can lead to unhappy, irritable residents and for those with dementia, who often can’t describe problems with their teeth or gums, pain and infection may go untreated and worsen.”

The guidelines are clear that only registered GDC practitioners should be handling treatment for gum disease and other ailments, however if more preventative care is provided within the care homes themselves, the NICE committee are certain that this will provide a vast improvement in the health of care home residents and call on all members of staff to include oral health as part of broader health and wellbeing plans.