It Is Time
Smile agus Slainte – National Oral Care Policy was published by Minister Simon Harris in 2018. Covid-19 was a major disruptor of advances for this policy – but we believe it is now time to:
Put the discussion of access to Oral Care firmly back on the table.
Help to heal our ageing population after the past 16 months of life during Covid-19.
Show the most vulnerable in our society that our country cares about them.
Thank them for holding on, staying strong, giving up so much to help in our joint effort of protecting the HSE and protecting each other.
Support the nurses & carers in Nursing Homes and LTRC facilities – to share the burden and not make them responsible for an element of residents’ care that they have little or no training in.
At Dental Tech we have been servicing care home facilities for over 7 years. We have found that around half of all care home residents have some of their own natural teeth. But, their oral health is typically much worse than their peers living in the community. With increasing age, the ability to care for their own mouth deteriorates, and essential oral care becomes challenging without support. Unfortunately care home staff are stretched to almost breaking point and receive no training on oral care health. In many patient cases medication leads to dry mouth and diets can be rich in sugars and carbohydrates.
All these factors increase the risk of oral diseases, reduce the quality of life, provoke poor health and diet. This exacerbates underlying medical conditions and creates a need for complex emergency dental restorations. Residents also suffer psychological and social repercussions from problems such as bad breath, changed dental aesthetics and altered speech.
Dental Tech Experience
In our experience we believe proactive oral care practices in nursing homes are poor. Challenges include lack of policy, inadequate resources, lack of training – all compounded by high staff turnover. Proactive care enables people in long term care to eat, chew, speak and smile with dignity. It also affords them an enhanced quality of life, and can only be achieved by bringing the dentist to the care facility.
Access to domiciliary services must be recognised as a priority area in care for older people. This will reduce hospital admissions and remove the need for families to take their loved ones to a dental clinic.
Our evidence suggests significant deterioration in oral health, with little attention to oral care being received by care staff during the pandemic. The consequences of this lack of preventative care causes discomfort, weight loss, lack of self-esteem, inability to eat. International evidence suggests that improved oral hygiene can reduce the progression of respiratory tract diseases in dependent older patients.
Given the respiratory consequences of COVID‐19 infection, this becomes even more significant. Moreover, patients in intensive care units with poor oral hygiene requiring mechanical ventilation have a higher risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).
Dental Tech offer Denture & Dental care to our ageing population in the comfort of their homes or residential care facilities:
- Our mobile teams visit Care Homes and offer facility-wide Proactive Oral Care Programmes to all residents.
- Our mobile teams can visit your loved one at home or in their care home to give them access to oral care.
- We offer a TeleDental service for emergency assessments.
Article by Saoirse O’Reilly, Customer Relationship Manager at Dental Tech Group
For appointments and more information firstname.lastname@example.org 01 455 1866 www.dentaltech.ie