Prioritising Oral Health in Aged Care and Disability Support

Leonie Short is a Dental Practitioner and Dental Therapist. She started working as a dental therapist in Rural NSW and then moved into being an academic and researcher. Through her career, Leonie has worked at 6 universities across New South Wales and Queensland, and remaining community focused.

Prior to starting her business, Leonie, was a consumer advocate in the fields of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, substance abuse before concentrating on oral health. Her passion led her to start her business.

Seniors Dental Care Australia focuses on oral health care training and education for workers in the aged home care and disability sectors. These are the whole range of health workers from carers, enrolled nurses, registered nurses, allied health practitioners and general practitioners recognising the need to improve oral health care. Leonie talks about the passion and attention to delivering oral health care teachings.

As a hands on practitioner, Leonie typically delivers training in person and through a shift pattern at seniors or disability support facilities, and also via online. She feels in person and on site delivery is more engaging and raises confidence levels in carers.

Over the past 8 years Leonie has encountered smelly mouths, rotted teeth, infected gums and dirty dentures. Her aims are for people to have nice healthy clean mouths, to be able to smile, to talk, to taste and to eat.

Without a clean mouth, cases of aspiration pneumonia and infected endocarditis increase leading to hospitalisation and death. Leonie talks about a case in the UK of ill-fitting dentures being untreated, compounded by COVID precautions to oral examination leading to the patient choking on her dentures and dying.

Leonie’s mission is to have improved oral health experiences and outcomes, however she recognises, the health system really needs to work hard to make it happen and for people to understand why it needs to be a priority.

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