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What CQC Expects

Smiling Maters Report [CQC June 2019]  found that many residents in care homes were not being supported to maintain and improve their oral health.  

NICE Quality Standard [2017] recommends that residents are supported to clean their teeth and/or dentures daily and have their oral health needs assessed on admission and recorded in their personal care plans.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) expects care managers to take account of the nationally recognised guidance including CQC Guidance from NICE.

A quick guide for care home managers' which highlights areas for Care Managers to focus on.

CQC, in essence would like to see care homes treat oral health as an equal priority to other personal care needs. Care homes will need to therefore document that an effective assessment of a person's oral hygiene has taken place with details of their routine check-ups as well as confirmation of whether they are exempt from NHS dental charges.  If a resident is not exempt, a plan will need to be in place to deal with how those costs will be covered.

Signposting to local dentists and a multi-agency group 

Some care homes utilise a domiciliary dental service to carry out routine checks of service users’, particularly where it is difficult to transport a particular service user. Other care homes may be able to work together with local dental practices to arrange routine appointments and emergency care, for example.  *This is in line with the CQC’s aim of achieving a collaborative approach

As CQC amend their inspection strategy they continue to focus on providers deemed to be a risk.   In CQCs latest publication (December 2021), it announced that it will be inspecting care homes rated ‘Requires Improvement’ By identifying  where improvement has taken place and sharing good practice examples for the benefit of people using services and staff delivering care.

Now is the perfect time to demonstrate Good Practice in Oral Health Care by enrolling on our Oral Health Awareness Scheme.



New questions to improve oral care in care homes have been added to the Care Quality Commission’s ‘effective’ key line of inspection inquiry.

The new questions are:

1. Do all staff have training in oral health care?

  • Is oral health covered in induction?

  • Is oral health a mandatory component of regular training?

  • Do staff feel confident in supporting oral health care?

  • Do staff know what to look for to identify deterioration in oral health?

  • Do staff consider poor oral health when assessing reasons behind weight loss, infection, or tissue viability?

2. How do you ensure oral health care is assessed, considered and delivered as a part of a person’s care plan?

  • Is the service aware of the NICE Guideline NG48?

  • Is oral health assessed fully on entry to the care home in line with this guideline?

  • Is there a detailed oral health care plan in place?

  • Do people have easy access to toothpaste, toothbrushes, denture cleaning fluid?

  • Do people have access to routine and emergency dental care?


Nice Guidelines in oral health

Quality statement 1.  Oral health assessments

Adults who move into a care home have their mouth care needs assessed on admission


Quality statement 2.  Recording mouth care needs in care plans

Adults living in care homes have their mouth care needs recorded in their personal care plan.


Quality statement 3.  Supporting daily mouth care in care homes

Adults living in care homes are supported to clean their teeth twice a day and to carry out daily care for their dentures.

oral healthcare new standards