Oral health advice for people with serious mental illness

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The aim of this review from the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group was to assess the effectiveness of oral health advice in reducing morbidity, mortality and preserving the quality of life in people with serious mental illness.

A number of studies have found links between mental health problems and poor oral health and we have higlighted some more recent studies  here on Dental Elf:-

Unfortunately  this  new Cochrane Review did not identify any randomised controlled trials focusing on oral health advice versus standard care or comparing oral health advice with other more focused methods of delivering care or information.

Khokhar WA, Clifton A, Jones H, Tosh G. Oral health advice for people with serious mental illness. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD008802. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008802.pub2

However,clearly it is important that this group of the population have appropriate oral health care advice  in line with other population groups.  There have been a number of reviews looking at the effectiveness of oral health promotion  suggesting that this can change behaviour and improve oral health e.g.

While recently it has been suggested that motivational interviewing may be an effective approach,

and a more tailored approach may be more suitable for this population group. Overall the majority of reviews evaluating oral  health promotion have criticised  the  original studies as being of poor quality and  Watt et al  have argued  for the need for higher quality outcome measures.


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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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