Attn. People with Mental Illness: Reduce your Risk for Tooth Loss
Tooth loss has been an area of concern in dentistry for quite sometime. The good news is that there has been funding for studies to support oral health. Recently, he British Journal of Psychiatry recently published a report by researchers at the University of Queensland that demonstrated the increased risk for tooth loss among people with mental illness. The findings suggest that people with mental illness are three times more likely to have poor oral health when compared to people without mental illness. The report complied research from 14 studies involving over 2700 people with mental illness to note that they were 3.4 more likely to have lost all their teeth and 6 times more likely to have decayed, filled or missing teeth. The reasons for this may be numerous.
People with mental illness may be more likely to be on medication that causes dry mouth syndrome. Dry mouth syndrome is depicted by limited saliva flow. Adequate saliva flow has a deep cleaning effect on the teeth to fight off harmful bacteria and prevent the eruption of acid that produces tooth decay. In this case, people with mental illness can check their medication package inserts to see if the medication is identified to pose a risk for dry mouth syndrome. They may also visit their dentist for their professional recommendation. The dentist may suggest a fluoride rinse or gel, moisturizing spray or other ways to compensate for dry mouth syndrome.
People with schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder or other affective disorders may also be more likely to be in a low social economic income level or homeless when compared to people without mental illness, making oral health care limited or impossible from a financial prospective. Several interested parties in the dental community are working towards improving access to dental care for people with mental illness.