Do you have a family member who suffers from mental illness? You may want to help them remember to take care of their teeth.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people with severe mental illness are three times more likely to lose their teeth due to poor oral health. In the study, nearly 3,000 patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses were 3.4 times more likely to have lost all their teeth. They were also 6.2 times more likely to have tooth decay, filled or missing teeth, when compared to people with no mental illness.
Researchers contributed the increase in tooth loss to a variety of factors:
- Poor housing or homelessness may prevent people from cleaning their teeth properly
- Some anti-depressants and mood stabilizers reduce the flow of saliva, which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay
- Some individuals may be scared of treatment or worried about the cost
[/bulletlist]If you or someone you know is being treated for mental illness, see a dentist regularly.
Your dentist should ask you about medication, tobacco and drug use. Remember, a healthy mouth helps your overall health.