What is an oral health champion?
An oral health champion is someone who takes the lead on oral health within a service.
While they should have a basic understanding of what is needed for good oral health, champions are NOT expected to be oral health experts.
Why are oral health champions important?
Oral health champions speak up for the importance of oral health and consider how things could be done differently in a service for better oral health of staff and service users.
For organisations who want to introduce new oral health policies or practices, identifying oral health champions can be an effective way to support change.
What does an oral health champion do?
When starting an oral health champions network, it is a good idea to get the champions themselves to define their role.
Some examples of things an oral health champion might do include:
- make sure oral health is on the agenda at meetings
- bring an oral health topic to a team meeting for discussion
- lead discussion to problem-solve difficulties with supporting daily mouth care
- explain to new staff what is required of them to support oral health
- share useful tools and resources with other staff
- identify opportunities for staff oral health training
- seek management support to make changes where policies or practices do not support good oral health.
How do you find champions?
Oral health champions are most successful when they are self-nominated.
Some organisations may have one champion per house, or have an area or cluster manager oversee several houses.
Some basic oral health knowledge will be important for champions to be successful in their role. Consider inviting a local dental provider to deliver some basic training.