Health visitors' and school nurses' perceptions of promoting dental health in children

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This study aimed to explore the views of health visitors and school nurses with regard to their role in oral health promotion and their understanding of the issues surrounding the delivery of effective oral health promotion in their daily practice. A focus group was conducted with school nurses (n=6) and health visitors (n=3) who had recently completed the Evidence-Based Public Health core module as part of their higher degree specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN) programme of study in 2014. A 12-item focus group interview schedule was devised in which face and content validity were established. A thematic analysis was then undertaken in which themes and subthemes were identified. Although health visitors and school nurses are best placed to take the lead on oral health promotion in children and young people, several barriers were identified, which prevented them from performing this role effectively and confidently. A recommendation is made for more training, focused on behaviour change principles of concordance and setting realistic targets tailored to the needs of those children and young people who need it most.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016


  • Oral health promotion
  • Dental health
  • School Nurses
  • Health Visitors


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