The NZDA supports an introduction of national protocols for dental hygiene care, and inclusion of oral care criteria as part of aged care facilities compliance with standards.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Ageing oral care training programme aimed at educating carers to look after residents’ oral hygiene care is run by NZDA with funding support from the Ministry of Health. This training is offered to care staff by NZDA dentists who are also best placed to deal with residents’ complex treatment needs and extended medical histories. 

This training, developed by NZDA, extends beyond the minimal education provided by the aged-care sector training organisations that comprises only simple day-to-day oral hygiene instructions. Through this programme, participants not only learn about different oral hygiene aids and techniques but also about common oral health issues, the association between oral and general health, and effective communication and behaviour management techniques.

Participants are also trained to assess, plan and implement individual oral care plans for their residents. This focuses on developing a plan based on individual need as ageing can lead to a different range of dental problems. 

About 4000 care workers have attended these sessions overall and the feedback received about the programme is excellent.