Debra Worthington: Mouth Care Matters

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Debra Worthington speaks at the Dental Nurses Forum

The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2020 will present educational opportunities for all members of the dental team. Tailored specifically to dental nurses, the Dental Nurses Forum, presented in collaboration with the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN), will offer a two-day lecture programme which the organisers promise will cover “relevant and inspirational topics”.

Among the impressive speaker line-up will be Debra Worthington. With more than 30-years-experience in dentistry, Debra has worked as a dental nurse in various different roles, gaining postgraduate qualifications in oral health, radiography and conscious sedation.

She is President of the Orthodontic National Group and a member of the Dental Care Professionals Advisory Board at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. Debra is currently the Maxillofacial Unit Manager at Salford Royal Hospital, leading a team of community dental nurses, maxillofacial and orthodontic nurses, orthodontic therapists and dental therapists.

Oral care is lacking

She will be sharing her expertise regarding the nationwide Mouth Care Matters programme. Speaking about the scheme, Debra says: “Oral health is an important part of general health and wellbeing. It allows people to eat, speak and socialise without discomfort or embarrassment.

“Research shows that oral care is often lacking in hospital and community care settings, especially among patients who may be unable to carry out their own personal care and rely on others for support. Mouth Care Matters seeks to address this by creating a healthcare team that is more responsive and personalised for patients.

“It aims to deliver better clinical outcomes, increasing awareness of the importance of good mouth care and how it impacts general health and quality of life. The initiative is relevant for anyone who provides personal care to patients, be that in an acute, care home or community setting. Furthermore, the Mouth Care Matters programme aims to reduce Healthcare Acquired Pneumonia, thus decreasing prescriptions and clostridium difficile infections.”

Debra says the benefits are clear, but it’s important that the profession supports the programme for it to help more people, and dental nurses are well-positioned to get involved: “Dental nurses – especially those with an oral hygiene postgraduate qualification – are best placed to provide appropriate training to care providers.

“Dental nurses have the background training in identifying oral conditions, as well as up-to-date knowledge on the products available.”

Enhanced CPD

During the Dental Nurses Forum, Debra will outline how Salford Royal Hospital has implemented the project and what training it provides to oral care champions. She adds: “I will also cover the development and implementation of oral care assessment and care plans, as well as the importance of submitting a bid for a Mouth Care Matters Lead.

“In addition, I will share the data collected so far regarding the number of professionals trained and any cost savings identified. I hope to empower colleagues to implement the project in their own Trusts and organisations.”

Debra’s session is just one of the topics for dental nurses at the 2020 conference. Delegates will have the opportunity to gain enhanced CPD, while also networking with friends and colleagues.

Debra added: “I think the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show is the main conference for dental professionals in general dentistry. The lecture programme is expanding year on year – colleagues can obtain valuable CPD from this conference and I would encourage all dental nurses to attend.”

The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2020 will be held on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May at the Birmingham NEC, co-located with DTS.

For the latest information, go to, call 020 7348 5270, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.