Dentists have launched a pilot scheme in Rotherham to improve oral health care for people in residential homes.
Jack Henshsaw, Harriet Meade and Laura Sanderson have started providing a free screening service to older people across the town.
It follows on from the success of a domiciliary dental care scheme, Residential Oral Care Sheffield, which has been in operation in the city for several years.
The trio of young dentists have seen the benefits of the ROCS scheme and are working to see the system extended to Rotherham, where access to dental care is patchy for old folk in residential homes.
Evidence has found that people in residential care are more likely to have poor oral health and inadequate or restricted access to dental services. This is despite studies which found that a domiciliary service improved the oral health-related quality of life of older people confined to their own homes.
By screening residents, dentists expect to pick up a variety of conditions quickly, which can then be treated.
Jack said: “It is vitally important that our more vulnerable members of society receive appropriate dental care.
“By screening the elderly or ill residents we expect to pick up conditions – such as oral cancer or infections which affect the quality of life of the individuals – more quickly and improve life experience”
Harriet added: “I have been impressed by the care and conditions that I have seen in the residential nursing homes, but felt that dentistry had been a neglected area.
“By becoming involved personally in this residential care system and working as a team with the staff in the home I feel I shall be making a contribution to the oral health of the elderly and disadvantaged patient.”
Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron visited Davies Court Care Home in Dinnington to speak with the dentists, staff and residents about the scheme.