The effect of programs to improve oral hygiene outcomes for older residents in long-term care: a systematic review

Res Gerontol Nurs. 2014 Mar-Apr;7(2):87-100. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20140110-01. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


Nurses have a critical role in promoting oral health in dependent older adults residing in long-term care or having extended hospital stays. Strategies aimed at improving the quality of oral hygiene care nurses provide may contribute to better oral hygiene outcomes. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the effect of intervention programs designed to enhance the ability of nurses or those to whom they delegate care to improve oral hygiene outcomes in frail older adults. Studies reported an educational program, either alone or augmented in some way. The study interventions consisted of: (a) single in-service education sessions; (b) single in-service education sessions supplemented by a "train-the-trainer" approach; and (c) education sessions supplemented with ongoing active involvement of a dental hygienist. None of the approaches emerged as being desirable over the others, as methodologically strong studies with good intervention integrity were lacking, and a variety of oral health outcomes were used to measure effectiveness of the interventions, making comparisons across studies difficult.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Frail Elderly
  • Geriatric Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Oral Hygiene*