Skills for Care

Oral health plays an important role on the quality of life. Poor oral health can bring pain, which prevents people from eating and drinking properly and can lead to malnutrition.

It can also affect people’s abilities to take medication and there’s also evidence that links poor oral health with aspiration pneumonia, particularly in residential settings.


Induction and training

Induction is a good time to introduce new workers to policy and procedures relating to oral health.

We’ve included oral health in the 'Core and mandatory training requirements' for all staff, with some suggested learning outcomes.


CQC report: Smiling Matters

Smiling Matters is a report, published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in June 2019, reviewing the state of oral health care in care homes across England. From the review, there was a call to include mandatory staff training care in oral care and a create greater awareness of the importance of good oral care and what this means, from employers, carers, people accessing care and support and their families.

Oral health has a huge impact on our quality of life and we need professionals across a number of sectors to make changes to ensure it is given the priority it needs in care home settings. Oral health cannot be treated as an afterthought. It can make the difference between someone who is free from pain, enjoys eating and is able to confidently express themselves through talking and smiling – and someone who is in pain, unable to enjoy their food and who covers their mouth with their hand when they smile because they are ashamed of their poor oral hygiene but unable to address it themselves. No one should have to live like that.

Kate Terroni
Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC)


Read the report 


NICE guidance: Oral health for adults in care homes

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) developed guidance which covers oral health, including dental health and daily mouth care, for adults in care homes. The aim is to maintain and improve their oral health and ensure timely access to dental treatment.

They've also developed a quick guide for care home managers.