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Faculty of Dental Surgery response to CQC report on oral healthcare in care homes

24 Jun 2019

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published a new report, ‘Smiling matters: oral health care in care homes’. 

Responding to the report’s findings, Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“We welcome today’s report from the CQC. It resonates with many of the reflections and recommendations made in our own report on improving older people’s oral health1.  

“Most of us know what it’s like to have excruciating tooth or gum pain. It puts you off your food and makes it difficult to do daily tasks. For older people the effects are even worse. It can be very isolating, making people reluctant to socialise with friends and family. It can also impact their general health, putting them at risk of malnutrition and aspiration pneumonia. 

“We fully agree that people who use care home services, their families and their carers need to be made more aware of the importance of maintaining oral care. It is disappointing to learn that 39% of care home managers the CQC spoke to were not aware of the NICE guideline on oral health in care homes. Anyone with an elderly relative in a care would naturally hope that the manager of their mum or dad’s home would know about this guidance.  

“The CQC’s report also highlights the huge gap in training, with nearly half (47%) of care homes surveyed saying they did not provide specific training on oral health to their staff. It is vital that care providers give their staff appropriate training. They should also ensure they have an oral care policy in place and that oral health is included in initial health assessments.

“The FDS has previously called for standards of oral care to be assessed during health and social care regulators’ inspections of care homes. We therefore support the CQC’s recommendation that as the regulator, it reviews and clarifies how oral health care should be part of the monitoring and inspection of care homes.

“Importantly, the CQC has also recognised the need to improve access to professional dental care in care homes. It is vital that older people have routine dental check-ups, even if they have dentures, so that problems, including oral cancer, can be identified and treated as early as possible.”


Notes to editors

1. Faculty of Dental Surgery report, ‘Improving Older People’s Oral Health’, August 2017: 

2. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care.

3. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office: 
Telephone: 020 7869 6047
For out of hours media enquiries: 07966 486832

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