Mental health increases the chances of poor oral health

Individuals with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, dementia or other mental have a higher chance of poor oral health.

Research

Australian researchers concluded that in order to educate, treat and approach individuals who suffer from mental disabilities, healthcare organizations should develop more innovative models. This would improve the oral health of those who suffer from mental illness. Dr. Kuan-Yu Chu is one of the team members in the Department of Dentistry at the Tao-Yuan General Hospital in Tawain. He suggested the following:

“As compared to the general public, individuals who suffer from any type of mental illness or disability have inferior oral health. Even the level of utilization of dental care of such individuals is lower than other disabled people. Missing teeth is one of the most common components of the DMFT index among these.”

The research suggests that society has inadequate and insufficient conservative and preventative dentistry. It also points towards the increasing need for prosthetic treatments for individuals who have mental health illness. Such individuals also suffer widely from dental diseases, hence dental treatments are vital.

Who can help?

Typically, individuals who suffer from mental illness have to take medications for the condition. According to experts, these medications can cause considerable dental disease. That is one of the most significant reasons why such individuals have higher chances of suffering dental diseases.

Moreover, according to a survey conducted at the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei for in-patients with mental disorders, the prolonged stay in a long-term care institution is the most significant cause of poor oral health. The survey revealed that most long-term care institutions and dental clinics in the community do not offer adequate dental hygiene services for mentally ill patients. The reason might be limited capability or willingness.

To improve the dental health and conditions of patients with mental illness, professionals should consider three factors. Accessibility to quality dental care, sufficient budget and preventive oral health programs.

Psychologists should take into consideration proper oral hygiene of their patients while conducting comprehensive assessments. To design effective oral health care plans, mental health and dental experts should work together. As for now, the co-operation between general and oral health programs is pretty insufficient and needs improvement. The professionals working in both fields should cooperate in the long-term. That way, the dental needs of individuals suffering from mental illness could be fulfilled.

Financial support from the government is also crucial. This could make the cooperation between general health and dental experts possible and feasible.