Oral Health Status and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life in Italian Deinstitutionalized Psychiatric Patients
The aim of this study is to investigate the oral health status and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL, measured with OHIP- 14) in psychiatric patients assisted by the unique Italian mental health care system, in accordance to regulatory Law 180/78.
Materials and Methods
Demographic and medical variables were retrieved from institutional medical records. General health and oral health variables, oral health-related behavior and last dental contact were recorded. Clinical evaluation was performed on each patient. For oral health data collection, a standardized medical form was used.
The study involved an overall number of 67 patients. Primary diagnosis of mental illness was at mean age of 29 years. The average number of teeth per patient was 25.45 ±6,55. The overall mean value of caries experience was 9.1 decayed, missing and/or filled teeth (DMFT Index). Among affected patients (60%, n=33) the mean value of DMFT for all age groups was 11.3 (range 2-27). The present study highlighted a direct linear relationship between caries experience and OHRQoL. As the caries level increased, pain, functional and psychological discomfort scores increased.
Discussion and Conclusion
The overall caries experience value of 9.1 DMFT was lower than that reported in existing literature, which is usually related to traditionally institutionalized psychiatric patients, and most important of all, data on access to dental care is fairly good. These results, although derived from a pilot study on a limited sample, suggest that, where a psychosocial rehabilitative program is set out for psychiatric patients, as in the case of the Italian experience, the program can also determine an improvement in oral health status. It is important that programs for oral health promotion are developed in collaboration with mental health services and social measures are patient-centered as an integral part of the individual’s rehabilitation program