New research found that those with mental illness are 3 times more likely to have lost all their teeth and 6 times more likely to have decayed, filled or missing teeth, according to an article from Medical News Today.
Mental Illness Study
Researchers from the University of Queensland studied multiple reports published in the last 2 decades on more than 2,700 patients with severe mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, dementia and schizophrenia. They came to the conclusion that while dental health has recently improved among the overall population, it has not changed among psychiatric patients. Several contributing factors have been identified in the past, including:
- Specialized diets (often containing high carbohydrates and other substances known to be detrimental to oral health)
- Inability or lack of motivation to maintain proper hygiene routines
- Avoiding the dentist due to fear or inability to pay for treatment
Steps to Dental Improvement
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that patients continue with current treatments and other directions from their physicians, but also to seek additional advice from their dentist as well. Be sure to inform your dentist of your medical history so that he or she can recommend the appropriate treatment for the situation.
Researchers suggested that policymakers consider providing free, easily accessible dental care for those with severe mental illness in an effort to curb these statistics and improve oral health among that population. Proper oral health contributes greatly to a person’s overall quality of life as well as helps prevent more serious issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What are your thoughts?
To learn more about dental trends among special needs children, visit our article on special needs dental care.