The aim was to investigate beliefs about oral health care tasks among nursing staff caring for home-dwelling older people using the Nursing Dental Coping Beliefs (nursing DCBS) index.
The study population comprised nursing staff working at the homes and sheltered accommodations of older people in Ylivieska, Finland (N = 141). The data were collected using the nursing DCBS index (five-point Likert scale).
On average, the nurses held moderate to high Oral health care beliefs, Internal locus of control beliefs and External locus of control beliefs, but low beliefs about Self-efficacy. The nurses with an earlier adjunct education scored lower for Oral health care beliefs on the factor Knowledge about preventing gum diseases (OR = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1–0.9) than did the others. Regarding beliefs about External locus of control, the age group 31–49 years scored lower on the factor Retaining teeth as one ages (OR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1–0.7), but scored higher on the factor How to prevent dental diseases (OR = 5.6, 95% CI: 1.1–29.3) than did younger nurses (≤30 years). The nurses with only a nursing education showed significantly higher mean scores on the Self-efficacy factor Confidence of the need for dental knowledge than did those with an earlier adjunct education (P = 0.034).
The nursing staff mostly believed that oral diseases are preventable and teeth can be retained in advanced age, but failed to recognize the value of dental knowledge and had little confidence in their ability to manage oral diseases. Improving the oral health-related knowledge and self-efficacy beliefs of nursing staff will require additional oral health education.