Long-term effect of an oral healthcare programme on oral hygiene in a nursing home


Heidi Samson, Department of Clinical Dentistry – Gerodontology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Årstadveien 17, N – 5009 Bergen, Norway
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E-mail: heidi.samson@iko.uib.no


This article reports on the long-term effect of an oral healthcare programme aimed at improving and maintaining the oral hygiene of elderly residents in a nursing home. The method was based on (i) motivation and oral-care training of the nursing staff, (ii) production of picture-based oral-care procedure cards, (iii) distribution of adequate oral-care equipment, (iv) practical implementation of new routines, and (v) assessment of results attained. The level of oral hygiene in the nursing home was assessed using the mucosal-plaque score (MPS) index. Overall evaluation was made before the start of the study, after 3 months, and eventually after 6 yr. Before implementation of the oral healthcare programme, 36% of the residents had an acceptable score. Six years later, the proportion was 70%. The evaluation showed that the introduction of such an oral healthcare programme significantly improved the oral hygiene of the residents on a long-term basis. However, 30% of the residents did not achieve an acceptable score because they were very ill or dying, aggressive or wanted to brush their teeth themselves.