Staff can often feel discouraged by what they see as a lack of progress in the oral health of their clients. They might be doing everything right, but not see the improvement they are hoping for.

Every adult who is in care has had their teeth for decades. It sounds obvious when you say it, but this helps remind us that dental problems don’t happen overnight, and dental solutions don’t happen overnight either.

Our job isn’t to fix everything – even a dentist can’t do that! Our job is to make things better, and to start the process of improvement.

For a client that doesn’t like brushing, a victory might be getting some teeth brushed. With time, you’re much more likely to get them all done, but any progress is an improvement.

For a client that loves their fizzy drink, a victory might be getting them to drink less, and having them drink water afterwards to rinse the sugar off their mouth.

And for a staff member who doesn’t see a reason to change how things are done, having them value oral health care might be an important victory in itself.

 Over time small improvements can add up to big changes. We’ve seen significant changes in the residential care organisations we work with, especially as more staff and residents start emphasising oral health. These simple but important changes have helped hundreds of residents to live healthier lives.

If you’d like to start that process in your own organisation, get in touch. We can help by providing training and resources, and we’d love to hear from you. Contact us: everysmile@dhsv.org.au

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