Mentally ill prone to poor teeth

People suffering from severe mental illnesses are thrice as likely to lose their teeth because of poor oral health as compared to that of the general population.

Researchers from the University of Queensland analysed 14 studies based on oral health of those with severe mental illness, published over the past 20 years.

All such patients (2,784) had been diagnosed with severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, dementia and bipolar disorder, reports the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The review found that the psychiatric patients were 3.4 times more likely to have lost all their teeth. They were also 6.2 times more likely to have decayed, filled or missing teeth, according to a Queensland statement.

Steve Kisely of Queensland University said: ?People with severe mental illness may not be able to clean their teeth properly because of poor housing or homelessness,” he said.

“Some medications such as anti-depressants and mood stabilizers can also reduce the flow of saliva and cause dry mouth (xerostomia), which increases plaque formation.

?Our analysis shows that, although the oral health of the general population has improved in much of the world, psychiatric patients remain at a disadvantage,” said Kisely.

?This mirrors findings in other areas such as cardiovascular disease, where the health of the general population has improved – but not that of people with severe mental illness,? he added.

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