Community pharmacists' perceptions on managing people with oral health problems-A prioritisation survey

Adam Jones, Andrew Sturrock, Emma Elliott, Mark Gussy, Ian Maidment, David Nelson, Carolyn A Chew-Graham, Vishal R Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Alternative sources of oral health information are likely to be of benefit to the public, particularly where access to dental services is limited. There is evidence that community pharmacists are willing to advocate for oral health, but it is unclear what is needed to develop this role.

OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to obtain the views of community pharmacy staff on the frequency and type of oral health conditions they encounter challenges in management and training/research priorities.

METHODS: An anonymous online survey targeted pharmacy staff and elicited quantitative data related to the types and frequencies of oral health conditions experienced. Participants were stratified by age, gender, ethnicity, experience and setting. Free text responses allowed participants to detail challenging aspects of patient management, their priorities for service development and future research. Reflexive thematic analysis of free text responses identified key themes.

RESULTS: Oral/facial pain and swelling were seen weekly by most respondents, and daily by 28.8%. Other commonly presenting conditions were ulcers, dry-mouth, thrush and denture issues. Challenges in managing oral health conditions included: access to NHS dentistry, awareness of referral pathways, examination/diagnosis and understanding 'Red Flags'.

CONCLUSION: Acute and chronic oral health conditions commonly present to community pharmacists who lack necessary knowledge/training, which may result in missing 'red flag' symptoms for oral cancer or acute facial swellings which can be life threatening. There is a need to support pharmacists, who are willing to act as oral health advocates, in recognition, prevention and onward referral for oral diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-860
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of oral rehabilitation
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • community health services
  • community services
  • mixed methods
  • oral health
  • pharmacy
  • research priorities
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases/prevention & control
  • Community Pharmacy Services
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Oral Health
  • Pharmacists


Dive into the research topics of 'Community pharmacists' perceptions on managing people with oral health problems-A prioritisation survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this