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
Derek Richards is the Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry, Editor of the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal, Consultant in Dental Public Health with Forth Valley Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Dundee & Glasgow Dental Schools. He helped to establish both the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry and the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal. In 2013 the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry moved to the Dental Health Services Research Unit in Dundee. Derek has been involved with teaching EBD and a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994.

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