Helping older people achieve healthier outcomes through better oral health

Promoting resident's oral health

The Northern Trust has launched a new, educational resource aimed at helping older people achieve healthier outcomes through better oral health.

Launched during National Smile Month (16 May -16 June 2022), the new video resource aims to help staff support the oral health care needs of older people in acute and community settings including care homes.

Findings show that oral health care needs are not always met for frail, older people and lack of good oral health care causes a range of health issues.  Poor oral health can adversely affect a person’s general health and is specifically linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and bacterial pneumonia. Furthermore, good oral health has a positive impact on the person’s quality of life.

The Health and Social Care Board and British Dental Association highlighted in a report in 2019 that 73% of residents in care facilities have unmet decay, compared to 40% for those living in their own homes and that poor oral health care often leads to difficulties in eating and absorbing medications properly.

The new video resource, launched today (June 13), aims to achieve a greater awareness amongst staff of the importance of effective oral health care for older patients and residents.

Launching the resource, Elizabeth Graham, Assistant Director of Nursing said,

“We are delighted to introduce this Northern Trust oral health educational resource.

The video is the result of excellent collaborative working between a number of professionals who are dedicated to oral health as a fundamental part of resident and patient care.

“The resource outlines the principles of good oral health care and practical support.  It also provides advice from General Practice on when to refer to a dentist and GP, advice on supporting residents with a dysphagia, and the importance of providing oral health care at the end of life.

“I would like to thank everyone involved – the REACH Team, Dana Doyle, Practice Development Nurse, Deirdre Norton, Health Promotion Officer (Community Dental), Nikki Bass, Senior Care Assistant with Magherafelt Manor Care Home (Kathryn Homes NI), Dr Alan Lewis, Chair of Antrim/Ballymena GP Federation, Tracey Borthwick, Speech and Language Therapist and Leanne Devlin, Specialist Palliative Care Nurse with the Northern Ireland Hospice.

“We hope the resource is helpful in informing and enhancing clinical practice and also contributing and supporting a positive patient or resident experience.

Promoting Residents’ Oral Health from Northern Trust on Vimeo.

National Smile MonthDuring National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation is raising awareness of important oral health issues with the theme ‘Everyone deserves a healthy smile’.

The following links provide further information and details on how to support those in need of a little extra help.

For further details regarding the new Northern Trust oral health educational video, contact Maria Loughran – email: maria.loughran@northerntrust.hscni.net.

Download National Smile Month Resources
Top tips for your own oral health
Diet and oral health
Oral health and general wellbeing

13th June 2022

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