Health visitors’ views on promoting oral health and supporting clients with dental health problems: a qualitative study

Lewney, Johnathan, Holmes, Richard, Rankin, Judith and Exley, Catherine (2019) Health visitors’ views on promoting oral health and supporting clients with dental health problems: a qualitative study. Journal of Public Health, 41 (1). e103-e108. ISSN 1741-3842

Lewney et al Health visitors views on promoting oral health.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (305kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Background - Inequalities in dental decay in young children persist, resulting in high admission rates for general anaesthetics for tooth extractions. Health visitors have the potential to improve dental attendance and oral health in families least likely to engage with dental services. There is little evidence on health visitor views on this.

Methods - Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 17 health visitors working in both affluent and deprived areas in a single UK city. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, anonymized and analysed following a constructivist grounded theory approach.

Results - Knowledge of oral health was high and health visitors requested oral health education specific to the communities they worked in. Health visitors reported effective, formal referral processes to other health services but not to primary NHS dental services even when dealing with infants in pain. Health visitors interviewed were largely unaware of specific NHS dental services which reduce barriers to dental care including interpreting services and dental services for children with additional needs.

Conclusions - Health visitors interviewed were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about oral health but not about dental services. Inadequate links with NHS dental services may limit their effectiveness in oral health improvement and this needs to be addressed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dentistry and oral health, children, health services
Subjects: B600 Aural and Oral Sciences
L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 12:20
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 11:22

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics