Helping adults with additional care needs maintain good oral health

Launch of Open Wide - Guide for Trainers, 

COSLA, Edinburgh, 7 March 2019

Dentists, oral health improvement teams and partners from health, social care and the third sector in Scotland will benefit from a new resource launched today. ‘Open Wide – Guide for Trainers’, produced in partnership by NHS Health Scotland, the Care Inspectorate and NHS Education for Scotland (NES), offers those looking after adults with additional care needs practical oral health advice and recommendations.

Open Wide is a new oral health improvement programme for adults aged 16-64 who require support to look after their mouths. Adults with additional care needs often face challenges to maintain good oral health due to physical disabilities, learning disabilities or medical conditions or a combination. Good daily oral care is important for this group of people with a wide range of needs - to prevent problems arising and to avoid the need for dental treatment which can be difficult for them.

Susan Carson, Consultant in Dental Public Health, NHS Health Scotland, said:

“Everyone has the right to a clean and healthy mouth. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in delivering health and well-being to be aware that oral health plays an important role within their work.

“That’s why a focus on people who experience difficulties maintaining good oral health is so important. The resource launched today will help ensure that we do that and so that everyone in Scotland has the best oral health they can have.”

Peter Macleod, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said:

“Everyone in Scotland has the right to good quality care which meets their needs and respects their rights and choices.

“An important part of that is ensuring people are supported as needed to access any and all health services they require, and this includes access to good quality oral health care.

“The Care Inspectorate is pleased to be part of this important work. This resource will help inform care staff who support adults with additional care needs and ensure that the oral health of people experiencing care is assessed correctly and support is appropriate to their needs.”

David Felix, Postgraduate Dental Dean and Director of Dentistry, NES added:

“NHS Education for Scotland is delighted to be involved in the development of this important resource which tackles a priority target for Scottish Government and aims to reduce health inequalities. ‘Open Wide’ is a welcome addition to the existing established oral health improvement programmes for other priority groups in Scotland.”

The National Oral Health Working Group for adults with additional care needs produced the Guide. It follows the success of similar guides produced for oral health improvement programmes for other dental priority groups such as Caring for Smiles for dependent older people, Smile4Life for homeless people and Mouth Matters for prisoners.

The launch event includes participants from across Scotland including more remote, rural and island locations who will join via video conference.

Reference: PR2019-007

Further Information from:



Editors Notes


NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. At any time, this means NES is responsible for over 6,500 trainee healthcare professionals and supports the recruitment of professionals into Scotland.

The Care Inspectorate is a scrutiny body which supports improvement. That means we look at the quality of care in Scotland to ensure it meets high standards. Where we find that improvement is needed, we support services to make positive changes.

Our vision is that everyone experiences safe, high-quality care that meets their needs, rights and choices.

Our 600 staff work across Scotland, specialising in health and social care, early learning and childcare, social work, children’s services, and community justice.



01788 575050


The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.

BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.

Visit for more information.

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