In this study we examined how nursing home staff experienced assisting patients with oral health care. The results of a previous questionnaire indicated that oral health care is a low priority in nursing. The 22 in-depth interviews administered in this study showed that the quality of the oral health care received by the patients depended on several factors. It was found that often there were no specific routines for assisting oral health care in the nursing homes and that other activities were given higher priority. Assisting oral health care was described as passing a barrier, where the main problem was to gain access to the oral cavity. It was concluded that nursing staff working with geriatric patients need to be better educated in oral health care and should be seen by themselves and others as part of a team, where oral health care is clearly defined and included among other daily nursing activities.