Daily oral care in residential care

The third step in helping to maintain a resident's oral health is putting the oral health care plan into action.

Nurses and care workers hold the primary responsibility of providing oral care to residents. The provision of effective daily oral care is fundamental to a resident’s quality of life and wellbeing.

Self learning activities

Improve your oral health knowledge and skills by working through the following learning package. The package is based on three modules. Module one is about improving your oral health knowledge. Module two looks at oral health skills. Module three uses a clinically based scenario with some guided questions to help you to apply your knowledge to practice. The audio visual resources provided will help build on this information.

Before you begin

First of all check what you already know using the pre-quiz (PDF 865KB). This will help check what you already know, what you need to learn more about and what you don’t know.

Module 1

Good oral health is essential for healthy ageing (PDF 8559KB) provides you with an overview of the impact of poor oral health on the quality of life and wellbeing of residents. Its describes the role of the four key oral health processes: 

  1. oral health assessment
  2. oral health care planning
  3. daily oral care
  4. dental referral.

Common oral health conditions experienced by residents are identified.Information on how to provide oral care to residents with changed behaviours is also provided.

Module 2

Protect your resident's oral health (PDF 6581KB) is a highly visual presentation showing the techniques of how to care for natural teeth and dentures, how to prevent gum disease, how to relief dry mouth and reduce tooth decay.

Module 3

It takes a team approach to maintain a healthy mouth (PDF 5281KB) brings together the information from module 1 (knowledge) and module 2 (skills). Module 3 uses a clinically-based scenario and guided questions to encourage you to reflect on how you would apply your oral health knowledge to everyday practice.

Once you have finished

Check what you have learnt using the post-quiz (PDF 867KB). This quiz will show you what you need to revise to improve your level of understanding. 

Multimedia resources

Dental Rescue: A Guide for Carers of the Elderly

This resource is an educational dental drama that will amuse, motivate and educate. It is an ideal tool for introducing residential aged care staff to the importance of oral health care. The resource can be used to:

  • help develop skills in dental hygiene and denture care
  • identify how to prevent dental problems occurring
  • teach management strategies for residents with changed behaviours
  • address occupational health and safety issues
  • and give an appreciation of how oral health affects wellbeing.

Dementia and oral care

This is an instructional resource demonstrating how to encourage a person with dementia to participate in oral care. It breaks oral care into six simple steps.

It starts with the mouth

This is an animated resource demonstrating what happens in the mouth when food is eaten and describes the impact of an acid attack. It goes on to describe how saliva and fluoride protect natural teeth. It introduces the concept of ‘tooth-friendly’ eating, explains the simple six question oral health assessment tool and the importance of having a dental check-up.

Care of natural teeth

This is an instructional resource demonstrating techniques used to clean another person’s natural teeth. It explains the importance of oral health and its links to general health and provides key oral health messages.

Care of dentures

This is an instructional resource demonstrating how to remove and clean dentures.

It takes a team approach

This resource uses an investigative approach to understand why a multidisciplinary team approach is crucial to achieve sustainable improvements in the health care of residents. Listen to stories from aged care staff and dental professionals as they talk about their experience and offer advice how to make the most of improving oral health care for residents.