Quality statement 1: Oral health needs assessments

Quality statement

Local authorities carry out oral health needs assessments to identify groups at high risk of poor oral health as part of joint strategic needs assessments.

Rationale

An oral health needs assessment can identify local groups of people who are at high risk of poor oral health, and determine their likely needs. This can be used as the basis for developing interventions for oral health improvement tailored to the local population. Including oral health in joint strategic needs assessments ensures it is a key health and wellbeing priority.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence that oral health needs assessments are part of joint strategic needs assessments.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

a) Identification of local groups of people at high risk of poor oral health.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Development of an oral health strategy.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for public health practitioners and commissioners

Public health practitioners (working in local authorities) ensure that they include oral health needs data from a range of data sources (for example the Public Health England dental epidemiological programme, questionnaire survey data, feedback from community groups) when undertaking joint strategic needs assessments to identify groups at high risk of poor oral health.

Commissioners (working in local authorities and on health and wellbeing boards) ensure that oral health needs data are collected from a range of data sources (for example the Public Health England epidemiological programme, questionnaire survey data) so that oral health needs assessments to identify groups at high risk of poor oral health are included in joint strategic needs assessments. This should be as part of a cyclical planning process.

Source guidance

Oral health: local authorities and partners (2014) NICE guideline PH55, recommendation 2

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Groups at high risk of poor oral health

People living in areas that are described as socially and economically disadvantaged are often at high risk of poor oral health. Local authorities (and other agencies) define disadvantaged areas in a variety of ways. An example is the government's Index of Multiple Deprivation. This combines economic, social and housing indicators to produce a single deprivation score.

Based on the oral health needs assessment, local authorities may prioritise other population groups at high risk of poor oral health, such as looked-after children, people who misuse drugs, people with severe mental illness, frail elderly people, some ethnic groups, and people with physical, mental or medical disabilities.

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on oral health: local authorities and partners, glossary and expert opinion]