Oral health guide launched for nurses working with homeless people

The Queen's Nursing Institute publishes guidance to help community nurses support people who are homeless

A ten-page oral health guide to help community nurses working with homeless people tackle preventable diseases has been published by the Queen's Nursing Institute.

It offers advice on how nurses can help patients overcome fear of dentists, as well the practical information they can offer patients on looking after their teeth.

Research published in the British Dental Journal in 2012 showed that 99% of a random sample of patients who visited a homelessness dental service required treatment and had a greater incidence of tooth decay than the general population.

QNI homeless health project manager David Parker-Radford said: 'People experiencing homelessness have reported that their oral health is very important to their self-esteem,' adding that substance misuse, poor nutrition and a lack of toothpaste and toothbrush can contribute to tooth loss, gum disease and mouth cancer.

'The power of an oral health conversation between a patient and an understanding nurse cannot be underestimated,' said Mr Parker-Radford. 'The QNI created this guidance to arm community nurses with more knowledge to have these conversations and develop more practical support on a more regular basis.'

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