This study tested the theoretical proposition that qualified nurses lack adequate knowledge related to oral health, resulting in inadequate oral care of patients on medical wards. The research was undertaken in a local district general hospital during January 1995. The project aimed to look at local practices of qualified nurses related to oral care of patients hospitalized in medical wards. Extent of knowledge and current practice of care was examined using a questionnaire. Open and closed style questions were used. The sample comprised nurses on one elderly care ward and three general medical wards and the sample size was 34. The results revealed gaps in knowledge of oral care procedures. In particular, a lack of assessment and documentation was highlighted. However, the nurses indicated a high level of interest at updating themselves in this area of nursing. The limitations of this study are discussed.