Interventions supporting community nurses in the provision of oral healthcare to people living at home: a scoping review

Patrick Stark, Gerry McKenna, Christine Brown Wilson, Georgios Tsakos, Paul Brocklehurst, Caroline Lappin, Barry Quinn, Gary Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


Oral health is a critical issue for public health and poor oral health is associated with significant chronic health conditions and lower quality of life. There has been little focus on providing oral health care to people who receive care in their own homes, despite the high risk of poor oral health in older people. Nurses practicing in the community are well placed to deliver this care, but little is known about how to build this capability through education or training interventions.

A scoping review methodology was employed to find and review studies of oral health interventions involving populations of people receiving care in their own home or those nurses who deliver this care. The research question asked what previous research tells us about oral health interventions delivered by nurses in the community. Data was extracted for four areas: setting and type of intervention, patient outcomes, changes to nursing practice and implementation and process evaluations of interventions.

Two thousand eighty papers were found from the searches, and only nine were ultimately deemed eligible for inclusion in the review. Included studies spanned community nursing for older people (n = 3) and health visiting or community nursing for children and infants (n = 6). Patient outcomes were generally positive, but this is based on a low level of evidence. Changes to practice including increased oral health care administered by nurses were found, but this required professional support to be sustainable.

This review has found that there is a clear gap in the research around interventions designed to be used by community nurses to improve oral health care for people receiving care in their own homes. The results also suggest that any future intervention must make use of a participatory, co-design approach and consider the complex setting of nursing practice in the community and the barriers to delivering this care, such as time pressure and lack of prior experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number269
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 05 Oct 2022


  • Oral Health
  • Oral Care
  • Community Nursing
  • Community Nurse
  • Home Care
  • Scoping Review


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