Mouth Care Matters Provides Oral Health Training for General Medical Practitioners

In October 2018, the Mouth Care Matters’ team provided training for trainee general medical practitioners at Surrey and Sussex Health Care Trust.

Mouth Care Matters (MCM) continues to focus on delivering relevant oral health training for all health care staff, including doctors.

Many of the Trusts that have implemented the MCM initiative have introduced oral health training for junior doctors in hospital settings.  This particular group will increasingly encounter patients with oral problems.

A recent study by Cardiff University found nationally that 380,000 people in the UK visited their doctor with a dental problem.  Oral health is not a part of the core training for doctors and so understandably they may not be able to advise or signpost appropriately. There is an increased awareness of the links between oral health and general health.  For example, General medical practitioners could remind patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease the importance of regularly seeing a dentist.  Therefore, retaining teeth in an ageing population with increased co-morbidities it is likely that doctors will continue to see patients with dental problems, so oral health education is important.

Equally, oral health training for paediatric patients is very important.

When addressed this means we can deliver better oral health to all children and make every contact count. Additionally, even if it means reminding parents of the importance of seeing a dentist.  Dr I W Hashem, a Dental Core Trainee at East Surrey Hospital, carried out the paediatric part of the training.

Dr. Hashem reflects: “As a dentist, the session was an eye opener, the questions asked by the medication practitioners were strong indicators of how little information they were exposed to with regards to oral health.”

Mouth Care Matters at Expo 2017Mili Doshi, a Special Care Dentist at East Surrey Hospital states, “It is great to have oral health training of a permanent fixture on the medical education programme at East Surrey Hospital.  For many doctors this is their only experience of training in oral health yet doctors are regularly in the position where they need to advise on oral health conditions.”

The doctors attending the training found it very useful and feedback from participants was very positive.

Some examples: “Very relevant.  A topic, we as medics have not covered in great detail or at all,  but can see in practice.”  “The paediatric lecture was brilliant in its holistic approach for the community clinician.”

At Surrey and Sussex Health Care Trust where Mouth Care Matters was developed, oral health is now a regular fixture on the Grand Round programme (lunch time teaching session for doctors) and is part of the junior doctors’ educational programme.