The Oral Health Improvement Plan published in January 2018 by the Scottish Government recognises the challenges in providing oral care for the ageing population.
Quoting from the ministerial foreward as follows:
'We also need to recognise that the population of Scotland is ageing, presenting new challenges that we have to meet. More older people have their own teeth than we have ever seen before. While many people continue to see their dentist on a regular basis, this changes when they become housebound and have to rely on domiciliary care services. We face particular challenges in ensuring that residents of care homes also continue to receive regular effective dental care.
As a first step, the new domiciliary care arrangements will enable an accredited practitioner to be assigned to a care home to provide routine preventive oral health care to care home residents. These practitioners will work in partnership with care home staff to ensure the maintenance of good oral health and hygiene. It is also important at this stage to acknowledge the complementary role provided by the Public Dental Service ( PDS) in providing domiciliary care, and we envisage that this role will continue.’
Specific actions on Domiciliary Care are detailed later in the document as follows:
'New Domiciliary Care Provision
We intend to develop an accreditation scheme for GDPs with the necessary skills and equipment to see patients in care homes. These practitioners and their teams would work with care home staff to ensure adequate preventive care is in place for residents, complementing the PDS, which will continue to provide those procedures that cannot readily be done by a GDP. With the increasing numbers of people living in care homes it will be necessary to ensure the PDS are only used for patients requiring their advanced skills.
Action 11: The Scottish Government will introduce arrangements to enable accredited GDPs to provide care in care homes. These practitioners will also work with care home staff and the PDS to ensure the maintenance of good oral health and hygiene.’