Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Lakin, M. 2023. Education, beliefs, and health literacy of care providers on mouth care of older adults. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Molly Lakin 2023.


Oral health is important to one’s overall health and quality of life as it can lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders (Haumschild et al. 2021). In long-term care facilities, it is important that dependent older adults are provided mouth care to maintain their oral health and decrease their chances of developing a chronic illness; however, there are barriers affecting the level, quality, and quantity of mouth care being provided in these facilities. A survey was developed to look at the education, beliefs, and health literacy of care providers on providing mouth care in hopes of gaining insight into the gaps in the literature that would help one understand why the level and quality of mouth care is insufficient in most long-term care facilities. The results of the survey suggest that nurse aides don’t feel that their training and education adequately prepared them to understand the importance of mouth care or to be able to provide mouth care. Additionally, the results suggest that nurse aides feel that mouth care is given low priority in care facilities. In efforts to prevent these shortcomings, training and education programs can be improved to provide more emphasis on the importance and protocols of providing mouth care to older adults. Additionally, specialized nurse aide positions could be developed to decrease the number of responsibilities put on each individual and increase the chances of each level of care being provided thoroughly. The sample size and diversity of this research were low, so the results of this survey are not statistically significant, nor can they be generalized to other groups of people.