Nursing students receive training in oral care

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Health Education England has introduced oral care training for nurses and students taking midwifery courses as part of a scheme known as Mouth Care Matters.

The project is now in full swing at the University of Northampton, where nursing, nursing associate and midwifery students have taken classes aimed at ensuring healthcare professionals have the necessary skills to provide basic dental care for patients. 

The oral care lectures cover a range of topics, including checking the oral health of patients, talking to them about oral hygiene, diet and ways to improve dental health and carrying out tasks like cleaning dentures and brushing teeth in cases where individuals are unable to undertake these actions independently. The lectures are led by senior lecturer in Dental Nursing, Nicky Peasnell, and the university is working in collaboration with Health Education England and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 

Mouth Matters lead at the trust, Denise Birkett, said that the training scheme has been a “fantastic initiative,” which has been well-received by students. Thanks to the lectures, nurses, nursing assistants and midwives will be able to provide dental care for their patients, and this could make a really positive impact moving forward.

Good dental health is essential not only for reducing the risk of pain, premature tooth loss and infection, but also for maintaining confidence and lowering the risk of general health problems. Poor oral health is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes, for example. 

Mental health nursing student, Erica Birch-Abban, is one of those who have benefited from the lectures. She admits that she had never really thought about approaching the matter of oral health with her patients and she didn’t realise just how important dental care is. Now, she feels confident about talking to patients about oral care and is ready to spread the message far and wide to ensure that oral health is a priority for all those caring for patients.

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