Objective: People with chronic schizophrenia have high rates of physical ill-health such as heart disease. However, there has been less attention to the issue of poor oral health including dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) disease, although both have consequences for quality of life and systemic physical health. We therefore measured tooth decay and gum disease in Malaysians with schizophrenia.
Methods: We recruited long-stay inpatients with schizophrenia from June to October 2014. Four dental specialists assessed oral health using the decayed-missing-filled teeth index, the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs and the Debris Index of the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index. Results were compared with the 2010 Oral Health survey of the general Malaysian population.
Results: A total of 543 patients participated (66.7% males, 33.3% females; mean age=54.8years [standard deviation=16.0]) with a mean illness duration of 18.4years (standard deviation=17.1). The mean decayed-missing-filled teeth was 20.5 (standard deviation=9.9), almost double that of the general population (11.7). Higher decayed-missing-filled teeth scores were associated with both older age (p<0.001) and longer illness duration (p=0.048). Only 1% (n=6) had healthy gums. Levels of decay and periodontal disease were greatest in those aged between 45 and 64years, coinciding with the onset of tooth loss.
Conclusion: Dental disease in people with schizophrenia deserves the same attention as other comorbid physical illness. The disparity in oral health is most marked for dental decay. Possible interventions include oral health assessments using standard checklists designed for non-dental personnel, help with oral hygiene, management of iatrogenic dry mouth and early dental referral.
AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
Wey MC, Loh S, Doss JG, Abu Bakar AK, Kisely S.
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