The whole tooth: Realities of oral health care for young people with psychosis

Poster C58, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Andrew Watkins1,2, Scott Teasdale1,3, Elisa Rosimel1, Isabella Russo4, Juhi Bhambhaney4, Cheyenne Holman4, Charlie Qi4, Leonie Green1, Claire Phelan1, Jackie Curtis1,3; 1Early Psychosis Programme, The Bondi Centre, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, 2University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, 3University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 4University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Poor oral health can impact on an individual’s social, emotional and physical wellbeing as well as imposing a significant financial burden. People experiencing severe mental illness (SMI) are 2.8 times more likely to lose all of their teeth compared to the general population. Despite poor oral health outcomes for people with SMI no study has specifically looked at young people experiencing psychosis. It is hypothesised that poor oral health in this population begins during youth and continues throughout the illness. The risk factors for poor oral health amongst young people with psychosis include xerostomia, higher smoking rates and sugar intake, along with financial barriers to accessing dental care. Fifty young people (14-25 years) with early psychosis or ultra-high risk diagnoses completed an oral health survey containing 26 questions developed in conjunction with oral health experts comprising standardised questions on oral hygiene practices, self-perception of oral health, dietary and lifestyle factors. Oral hygiene practices were poor with only 16% meeting recommendations for dental flossing and nearly one third never having visited a dentist. Participants also reported higher levels of both toothaches and damage to front teeth, when compared to youth in the general population. Sixteen participants agreed to complete a free oral health check-up with 94% (n = 15) requiring further dental interventions. Regular oral health clinics as part of routine early psychosis care have subsequently been established. Early intervention in oral hygiene and treatment in youth with psychosis may help attenuate dental decay and gum disease as mental illness progresses.

Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform

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