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The Management of Oral Health Care and Complying with CQC "Smiling Matters" recommendations

Oral health has a big impact on our quality of life. Oral health for people in receipt of care must not stop once a person enters the care system. Older people are now more likely to retain their teeth than previous generations, and they need daily care and regular check-ups. Good oral care helps keep people free from pain - especially important for those who have communication difficulties or who may find it difficult to alert others to where it hurts.

For those with chronic conditions, good oral care can help make sure they can take the medicines they need to prolong health.

In response to the CQC report "Smiling matters: Oral Health in Care Homes" report, (2019) County Durham and Darlington (CDDFT) Oral Health Promotion Team have created a bespoke oral health training package for care homes. This shall help managers to understand its implications and can assist in achieving compliance with 'Smiling Matters' and associated NICE Guidance NG48

The CQC report found that:-

  • Too many people living in care homes are not being supported to maintain and improve their oral health
  • Dental teams need to improve services and access.
  • Not everyone was supported to keep their teeth and dentures clean
  • Only around half of care homes provided specific training to support people's daily care
  • People found it difficult to access routine NHS dental care
  • Oral health assessments were not on the priority list for some care home managers

Who is it aimed at?

  • Care Home Managers
  • Senior Care Staff
  • Registered Nurses
  • Care staff
  • Domiciliary care staff
  • Supported living care staff
  • Extra care staff
  • Day care staff

Learning method

There are two methods offered:

Face to face training

A short two-hour course which includes:

  • Practical instruction held as on-site training.
  • Practical strategies to manage residents who resist mouth care
  • Demonstrations by facilitator
  • Printed handouts
  • Case studies
  • A workbook to complete for the assessment.
  • Video clips to support oral care knowledge and skill.
  • Workbooks, case studies
  • Online supporting resources

The course can also be delivered virtually over two one-hour periods via Microsoft Teams.

Assessment method

  • Written feedback within the workbook
  • Completion of case study examples
  • Provision of a training resource pack that can be used for new staff induction.
  • Examples of oral health assessment templates and comprehensive care plans.
  • A summary handbook for carers
  • Example oral health information leaflet for friends and families
  • Information provided on NHS dental charges
  • Carrying out mouth care assessments and writing comprehensive oral care plans

Is the course accredited?

The course is not formally accredited however the CQC report advise that care providers enforce the guidelines as a mandatory training course. It is recommended that care homes add it to their training matrix to ensure it is refreshed on a regular basis and any new staff are provided with this training. CPD certificate is provided on completion of the course.

What you will learn?

  • Understand how to implement oral health policies and care plans in line with "CQC Smiling Matters and NICE Guideline NG48".
  • Understand the importance of residents' oral health and the potential effect of poor oral health on their general health, wellbeing and dignity.
  • To be aware of some of the more commonly found oral conditions and know how to manage them.
  • Understand residents' mouth care needs.
  • Understand how to achieve and maintain oral cleanliness.
  • Practical strategies to manage residents who resist mouth care.
  • Cleaning and marking of dentures
  • Know the key oral health messages.
  • Know how to facilitate access to urgent and routine care within dental services

Benefits to the organisation

The Oral Health Promotion Team shall help to create a bespoke oral health training packages to understand CQC implications to assist Care Homes in achieving compliance with 'Smiling Matters' and associated NICE Guidance NG48. The increase in knowledge shall help produce the following documentation:

  • An Oral Health Policy
  • Mouth Care Assessment Templates
  • Care Plan Templates
  • Record of Daily Care Templates
  • Information on Access to Dental Services
  • Oral health care is included within the NHS Long Term Plan and has been a key feature of Healthwatch England's reports.

Benefits to the service user

  • This would help to ensure for service users that their dignity was respected, and they remained comfortable and pain free.
  • To help support the reduction in the risk of deterioration in a service user's oral health which can, in turn, adversely affect a person's general health and lead to issues such as malnutrition.
  • To help ensure that residents have easy access to toothbrushes, toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.

How to book

The Oral health team will work with you to identify suitable dates and times to be arranged with individual settings. We recommend 4 staff to attend via Microsoft Teams and 6-8 staff to attend in regard to the face to face training course.

Please contact the Oral Health Team on 0191 387 6504 or email

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  • County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
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03000 260 222
Our address is:
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  • Spennymoor
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
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