Elderly Care/Older People Programme


Health Education England working across the north east and north cumbria offer free training in oral healthcare in the aging population.

















The Mouth Care Matters (MCM) Programme aims to create a healthcare team that is more responsive and personalised for patients and delivers better clinical outcomes.

Bringing an increased awareness of the importance of good mouth care, how it impacts on general health and quality of life.  The initiative is relevant for all people who provide personal care to patients be that in an acute, care home or community setting.

Oral health is an important part of general health and wellbeing.  It allows people to eat, speak, smile and  also socialise without discomfort or embarrassment.

Poor oral health can lead to a deterioration in general health. This links to quality of life and dignity. 

Research shows that oral care is often lacking in hospital and community care settings. Especially to those patients who may be unable to carry out their own personal care and rely on others for support.

There are four key drivers for this innovation:

Being in hospital has an impact on good oral health

There is evidence that a stay in hospital is associated with a deterioration in oral health of patients (Terezakis et al. 2011). This in turn has been linked to hospitalised-acquired infections; poor nutritional intake; longer hospital stays and increased care costs.

We are a changing population

We are an ageing population;  It is predicated that by 2020 around 20% of the population of the United Kingdom will be aged 65 years or older. As people age, many will develop some deterioration in physical and cognitive abilities. Leading them to increasingly need care, either in their own or in residential or nursing homes. And so, whilst people live longer, it is estimated that up to 20% of people aged over 80 years will be affected by complex medical histories and cognitive conditions.

Our mouths are changing

As people are living longer, they are also retaining their teeth longer.  In 1968, 37% of the population had no teeth in their mouths. This dropped to only 6% in 2009 (ADHS, 2009).  Older people are likely to have large fillings, crowns, bridges and dental implants, all of which need additional care to maintain and keep healthy.  Unfortunately as the population gets older, many people develop medical, cognitive or physical disabilities that mean they are less able to care for their mouth and dependent on others to carry out effective care.

We are taking more medication

Dry mouth is a common side effect of over 40 medicines.  Having a dry mouth can have a significant negative impact on oral health. By causing pain, difficulty in eating, speaking and an increase in dental disease. Such as dental decay, gum disease and thrush.

There is a wealth of evidence that shows that patient’s oral health was not being assessed and that hospitals and care homes had no policies in place for routine oral health practices.  Many staff carrying out mouth care will have had no previous training.   It has also been shown that there is no standardisation in the delivery of oral care. There is also a lack of equipment, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste or standardised mouth care recording tools.  Mouth Care Matters seeks to address this.

Oral Health Needs Assessment & Oral Care Plan Combined for care homes to view or download


We offer courses in the following topics:
  • Mouth Care Matters for Carers and Care Managers
  • Dementia and Oral Health for Carers and Care Managers
  • Teath events for residents and family remembers


Mouth Care Matters 

Discuss the importance of

  • oral health in relation to systematic health and how it fits into the GDC inspection framework in relation to personal care
  • oral health deterioration in older people
  • oral risk factors for dental disease typically impacting on the older person
  • carrying out basic oral care such as tooth brushing, care of dentures and dry mouths
  • carrying out an initial Oral Health Needs Assessment and operating daily oral care plans as part of an individual's daily care plan
  • regular dental examinations.


Dementia and Oral health

Demonstrate the

  • problems associated with dementia and oral health
  • anatomy and physiology of dementia
  • behaviours linked to dementia and give practical examples of what it means to live with dementia
  • communicaiton methods that can be used when dealing with people living with dementia
  • coping strategies that can be used to help the workforce achieve their goal


Teath Events

Discuss the importance of

  • good oral hygiene routine in the older person and the impact it can have on general health
  • an effective oral hygiene routine with natural teeth and dentures
  • tooth-brushing techniques using adapted aids
  • regular denture cleaning
  • best practie regarding safe snacks and drinks
  • regular dental examinations

Useful links