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Independent Oral Health Educator

Oral Health is a right, not a privilege! Good oral health is integral to general health and wellbeing and crucially, all aspects of social functioning. I am a GDC registered Dental Hygienist who is passionate about empowering people to 'help themselves' to good oral health. Oral health is linked to many of the measurable outcomes listed within Building a Dementia Friendly Community. I am particularly keen to support professional and family carers via e.g. oral health awareness sessions - provision of key dental public health messages to reduce the burden of dental disease.

14 August 2018
South West
Health, Medical
Local Alliances:
Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists a number of outcomes that we are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?  

Incorporate key Dementia awareness information within my training sessions both for dental teams and the public.

Maximise opportunities for better oral health through adopting a much earlier, preventive approach. Collaborative working with multi-agency and inter-disciplinary team colleagues to reduce Common Risk Factors which have a direct impact on oral health eg smoking plus other areas of health (eg bi-directional link between gum disease and Diabetes).

Share experience gained from working with people living with Dementia with dental team colleagues.

Increase community confidence and decision making skills when buying oral hygiene aids (eg toothbrushes/toothpastes) to support 'activities of daily living ie effective brushing skills on self care basis and by Carers.

Dedicated support for people with limited manual dexterity through selling more specialised oral health aids not on general sale.

 After many years experience I know a 'non clinical' environment can be very helpful for people who may have sensory impairment or are anxious. I can  offer sessions on a 1 -1 or small group basis.

Work with colleagues experienced in writing/delivering health informaton for key target audiences to ensure fully accessible oral health related information is available.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

My main challenge is financial  overheads currently being met on a totally self funding basis.

Oral health has long been  a very low priority on agendas - if indeed, mentioned at all. I have delivered Carer sessions and am delighted that feedback is very positive which has given me great encouragement and motivation to continue.

I need to be able to respond to any increase in demand for my services so need to identify appropriately trained dental colleagues to help.

Dementia Awareness training is currently not routinely carried out/available for our professional sector so needs of this target group not fully understood - need to ensure access to ongoing updates on Dementia.

Capacity for managing future work.

Member contacts

Frances Marriott RDH MRSPH Cert Ed

2. Actions

  • Share key Dental Public Health information with all of our community members. We will particularly highlight the 3 week message re: Mouth Cancer

    Development of lay Oral Health link people within our community support networks. Through collaborative inter-agency working, we will raise awareness and importance of how good oral health is integral to general health and wellbeing. The aim of our Oral Health Information and Education service is to support working towards the risk of dental disease - much of which is entirely preventable. Includes VBA (Very Brief Advice) around use of alcohol and tobacco.

    Optimise use of new publications such

    'Delivering Better Oral Health' 3rd Edition March 2014  and NICE PH Guidance 55 - Oct 2014 (Oral Health: approaches for local authorities and their partners to improve the oral health of their community) for oral health promotion within the community. Taken from Recommendation 9....'The consequences of poor oral health, for example, dental pain and infection. (This can exacerbate symptoms associated with dementia and can also contribute to malnutrition among older people')

    Inform all carers (via our oral health awareness sessions) about how they can help maintain good oral health. This includes access to dental care, as appropriate to individual need eg via local Special Care Dental team (Community Dental Service). Ensure Carers know what information is helpful for them to take to the dental team to support 'best care' for the person living with dementia. 

    We carry information about dementia support networks to all of our events.


    2015 - First Quarter Update

    Attended fourth annual Plymouth Dementia Conference with our stand.

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Attended DementiaUK Cornwall 'Living Well with Dementia' conference in Truro. Gave presentation on Oral Health and circulated Top Tips sheet. 

    We have provided short talks to various Carer support groups and also building links with an 'Outstanding Manager Network' (for Managers in both nursing and residential care settings).

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    Attended third annual Plymouth Dementia Conference with our stand. 

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    Joined Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance

    Update – First Quarter  

    Update – Second Quarter 

    Update – Third Quarter 

    Update – Fourth Quarter 

  • Increase interdisciplinary working with colleagues in the wider health and social care arena

    Within our current community project work we are becoming aware there may be some people with an increase risk of developing dementia. We also work with a wide, diverse range of community groups ie Young People. Some Young People have indicated they are providing care for family members (spectrum of age is wide).

    We will signpost/offer information about accessing wider health and socila services including support services such as Healthwatch Plymouth, Carers Hub and Alzhiemers Society.

    Being implemented

    Update – First Quarter   

    Update – Second Quarter 

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    Update – Fourth Quarter 

  • We continue to actively promote and facilitate Dementia awareness within our own professional sector of dentistry.

    Provide information and links to key Dementia information and sites on our own website and Facebook page.

    Arrange another Dementia Friends session for our local dental CPD group meeting - audience for this group includes all members of the dental team.

    Ensure we keep our own Dementia portfolio and related activities updated and available for loan to both our Dental Nurse OHE course students training and participants attending our OHE specific study days.

    We will include a study question within our course which specifically explores considerations to take into account when facilitating access to dental care for a person living with dementia and their carer.

    We will also include slides and information about supporting good oral health for people living with dementia in all our presentations whether for Health Team colleagues or Family carers.


    2014 - First Quarter Update

    Update curriculum for our new Oral Health Education course to include specific home study question on oral health care for a person with dementia plus how to best support their carer.   

    Update – First Quarter  

    Update – Second Quarter 

    Update – Third Quarter 

    Update – Fourth Quarter 

  • Access to Dental Care

    Support access to appropriate dental care for people with Dementia through liaising with carers and local dental teams.


    Implementation, Initial Scoping

    Update – First Quarter   

    Update – Second Quarter 

    Update – Third Quarter 

    Update – Fourth Quarter 

  • Work with colleagues experienced in writing/delivering health information for key target audiences to ensure fully accessible oral health related information is available.

    After participating in a two day event here in Plymouth on 'Accessible Information for People with Aphasia' (run by The Stroke Association) we would like to further explore/design a communication tool which would perhaps help people to be better able to manage information about both access to dental appointments and ongoing self care skills for oral health.

    Initially our focus would be on assisting people to be able to recognise and remember appointment information (especially if return visits are required) in support of maximising independence (and attendance) for as long as possible.  This would also help facilitate and promote 'self care' skills for as long as possible.

    The idea would be for the tool to be used in other healthcare settings other than just the dental setting.

    This piece of work would be subject to availability of both key support from people with IT/design experience and of course,funding.


    Update – First Quarter   

    Update – Second Quarter 

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    Update – Fourth Quarter 

  • Continue to work with dental colleagues to better understand why some patients with Dementia may not be able to keep appointments and what would help support attendance.

    After many years experience of working as a Dental Hygienist in the Special Care Dental Service environment, a key area of concern for me would be when patients 'did not show up' for their appointments.

    This caused me to reflect on why and importantly, what possible factors may have contributed to the 'no show'? Could it be due to factors on our side or was it on patients or both? Importantly, should the 'no show' be recorded as a CNA (patient could not attend) or a DNA (patient did not attend)?

    It is easy to record 'DNA' without thinking about why the situation has occurred and, as there is a huge difference between the two scenarios, accurate recording is vital particularly if the patient is dependent on others to be able to access healthcare.

    After being a carer for both of my parents, I do know that everyone needs to, and can, act as 'advocates' in helping others achieve and maintain good health and well being.

    Share information and feedback gained from our work out in the community back with dental team colleagues.

    Share learning from our specific study question as mentioned with dental team colleagues and the wider health and social care arena.

    Case study

    Update – First Quarter   

    Update – Second Quarter 

    Update – Third Quarter 

    Update – Fourth Quarter