This oral health assessment tool has been developed by our Care 4 Quality Team and is based upon the NICE guidance for ‘Improving Oral Health for Adults in Care Homes – a Guide For Care Managers’. The full guidance upon which it is based can be accessed by clicking here.

This tool can be used to help guide you on how to observe and score the oral presentation of the people you support across a number of categories, calculate an overall score for them and assess on a scale of 0 to 16 how healthy they currently are. There is additional guidance on observations which mean a person you care for needs to see a dentist immediately. This tool also has a short section for you to record if the person you support has capacity and if they are refusing dental treatment.

Poor oral health can affect people’s ability to eat, speak and socialise normally, and people living in care homes are at greater risk of oral health problems for several reasons:

  • Long-term conditions (including arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia) can make it harder to hold and use a toothbrush, and to go for dental treatment.
  • Many medicines reduce the amount of saliva produced and leave people with a dry mouth.
  • People now keep their natural teeth for longer, but this can mean they need more complex dental care than people who have dentures.
  • Thorough assessments, and support from skilled and knowledgeable staff can help prevent the pain, disturbed sleep and health problems that poor oral health can cause.

The Care Quality Commission expects:

  • Registered managers to take account of nationally recognised guidance, including guidance from NICE.
  • Evidence about how you support residents to maintain good oral health will help you demonstrate that your service is both effective and responsive.

NICE’s guideline on oral health for adults in care homes, and this free assessment tool, can be used as part of your preparation for inspection and to support requests for help to other services. If you are concerned about the availability of dental services inform your local Healthwatch and public health teams. Your local oral health promotion team should be able to provide you with educational materials, support and training.