Better Oral Health in Residential Care Training

Page last updated: 16 February 2015

The Better Oral Health in Residential Care Training project commenced in December 2009 and was rolled out to residential aged care homes nationally. The training aimed to provide an increased awareness of oral hygiene issues for the staff in daily contact with residents.

Two nurses or dedicated trainers in each aged care home, multi-purpose service and Indigenous flexible care service were offered training so that they in turn could train aged care workers in daily oral hygiene. The training covered:

  • providing standard protective oral hygiene, including proper brushing, preventing gum disease and reducing tooth decay and ulcers;
  • care, removal and cleaning of dentures;
  • responding to dry mouth (Xerostomia) – a side effect of some medications;
  • brushing techniques for residents with challenging behaviour, perhaps as a result of dementia, who may refuse to have their faces touched, bite the toothbrush or are unable to rinse;
  • helpful oral desensitization techniques to help aged care workers relax the resident to allow brushing;
  • distraction techniques especially for people with dementia, which will allow aged care workers, to brush the resident’s teeth; and
  • dental care for people at the palliative stage.

Registered nurses/trainers were provided with the skills and tools to undertake oral health assessments, oral health care planning and appropriate dental referrals for residents. All training materials and resources to support the training were provided by the Department of Health and Ageing.

There were 396 workshops delivered nationally, with 4,885 people trained from 2,809 aged care homes, multi-purpose services and Indigenous flexible care services.

Aged Care Channel

The Aged Care Channel developed a complementary oral health program that was aired in June 2010. More information on the program is available on the aged care channel website.


Although training is now complete, resources are available to support ongoing training in aged care homes. Better Oral Health Resources can be obtained by: