The BDHF has welcomed new guidelines that give patients the option to make a more informed decision about their care.
The NICE guidelines on oral health promotion in general dental practice cover how teams can communicate advice about oral hygiene, the use of fluoride, as well as how areas such as diet, smoking, smokeless tobacco and alcohol intake affect oral health in order to help patients make more informed decisions.
‘These guidelines have been developed with the patient firmly in mind; they outline a patient-centred approach to ensure patients who are using the services are actively involved in discussions and able to make informed decisions about their care,’ Dr Ben Atkins, a dentist and trustee of the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), and a member of the committee for the NICE guidelines, said.
‘Throughout the consultation stage it was recognised that interventions need to provide patients with support to help them change their behaviour in order to effectively change how they look after their oral health at all times.
‘By focusing on providing staff in dental practices with the means to do this by following these guidelines we are hoping to see the quality of dental provision in the UK improve in the future.’
The new guidelines include information that will help dental teams communicate with their patients, including appropriate ways to help strengthen recommendations.
They also include information about prescribing medicines, professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding to help improve patient support.
‘Although the landscape of oral health in the UK has improved significantly over recent years, there remain significant regional disparities,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said.
‘We welcome the new NICE guidelines, which can help to address these socio-economic variances and inequalities that still exist in oral health.
‘Putting the patient front and centre and giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision can educate them and tackle these inequalities.
‘By developing a more preventive approach to their treatment dental professionals can help to stop problems before they even exist.’
The guidelines can be seen here.