Exploring the benefits of Smile4life training: findings from a pilot study

Laura Beaton (Lead / Corresponding author), Emma Coles, Andrea Rodriguez, Ruth Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Smile4life is Scotland’s national oral health improvement programme for people experiencing homelessness. Following an oral health and psychosocial needs assessment of 853 homeless people across Scotland, the Smile4life Intervention was developed and rolled out across all NHS Boards. Dental health and health and social care practitioners were invited to attend a training event at the launch of the Smile4life: Guide for Trainers – a training guide for practitioners working with homeless people. This paper presents results from HoPSCOTCH, a pilot study that took place in four NHS Boards to examine the benefits of training for practitioners regarding their awareness of homelessness and the oral health needs of homeless people.

Dental health (baseline: 10; follow-up: 8) and health and social care practitioners (baseline: 13; follow-up: 12) completed questionnaires about their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. The results showed that there were increases in practitioner knowledge, confidence and motivation to help service users access dental care, to provide oral health education and to use motivational interviewing. The authors recommend that future training for practitioners who work with homeless people should include communication skills and advice on how to deliver tailored interventions, with the aim of strengthening practitioners’ confidence and motivation to deliver the Smile4life intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45, 47
JournalCommunity Practitioner
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016


  • Oral health
  • homelessness
  • oral health intervention


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