Aim The aim of this study was to describe how nurse managers perceive oral health in general and the oral health of the care-receiver in particular.
Background Oral health and general health are independent and influence each other through biological, psychological, emotional and developmental factors. To most adults, oral health is a natural daily routine of hygiene, whereas to people who are dependent on other people’s assistance, it is a procedure carried out by nursing personnel.
Methods Data were collected through interviews and analysed according to the phenomenographical method.
Findings Five categories emerged describing how nurse managers perceive oral health: maintaining patients’ well-being, having knowledge about oral health, behaviour towards the patient, feeling of being insufficient and creating the necessary conditions.
Conclusion The nurses considered oral health an important and obvious, but neglected, part of nursing. They expressed the wish to be updated in the knowledge area concerned, both for themselves and for their personnel. A majority called for standards for oral care, including documentation, which was considered necessary for the successful implementation.
Implications A suggestion for further research is to study whether the creation of national standards may increase its status and quality.