Since 2013, local authorities have had a statutory duty for improving the health, including oral health, of their populations.
In 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), an arm’s length body of the Department, published guidance on oral health for adults in care homes. The aim of the guidance is to maintain and improve oral health and ensure timely access to dental treatment. The guidance can be found here:
In 2017, NICE published a quality standard on oral health in care homes, which was endorsed by the Department, and is aimed at commissioners and providers of care homes. The quality standard can be found here:
In summer 2018, Public Health England (PHE) will be publishing ‘Commissioning better oral health for vulnerable older people’ to support commissioning of health and social care services that will have positive impacts on the oral health of vulnerable older people.
PHE has no plans to improve data collection and there have been no national surveys on the oral health or tooth brushing habits of people in care homes. However, in 2016, PHE reported on oral health in older people in England and Wales using data from existing surveys. The report found that older adults living in care homes were more likely to have no natural teeth and less likely to have a functional dentition; older adults living in care homes were more likely to have higher levels of tooth decay; care home managers experienced greater difficulty in accessing dental care for residents than household resident older adults did and residents resisting oral care routines was the second most common oral health issue raised by care home managers. Further information can be found here: