Study examines oral hygiene self-care behavior among patients with mental health disorders

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A study aiming to examine oral hygiene self-care behavior among patients with self-reported mental health disorders was presented at the 102nd General Session of the IADR, which was held in conjunction with the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research and the 48th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, on March 13-16, 2024, in New Orleans, LA, USA.

The abstract, "Oral Health Behaviors Associated with Mental Health Disorders" was presented during the "Oral Health and Systemic Conditions" Oral Session that took place on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 2 p.m. Central Standard Time (UTC-6). 

The study, by Gracie Groth of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Mesa, USA, reviewed electronic dental records for patients treated in an academic advanced care dental clinic between 2018 through 2021 to identify presence of self-reported anxiety, dental anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and oral hygiene self-care behaviors (OHB). Specific OHB included self-reported frequency of daily toothbrushing (TB), interdental cleaning (ID), use of fluoride toothpaste (FTP) and mouthwash (MW), and recommended preventive recare interval and frequency of returning for recare visits within a 2-year period. 

Descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U, and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used for data analysis. ATSU Mesa IRB #2023-136 Exempt. 854 charts were reviewed, with 250 records identified with self-reported MHD. Age of included patients ranged from 18 to 95 years, with mean age = 53.82 ±18.943. Most were females (n=145, 58.2%). Anxiety was the most common MHD (n=156, 62.4%), followed by depression (n=154, 61.6%), dental anxiety (n=64, 25.6%), bipolar disorder (n=37, 14.8%) and PTSD (n=22, 8.8%). 

There were no significant differences in OHB, recare intervals or frequency of recare visits by MHDs. Most did not use ID (n=152, 60.8%) or MW (n=183, 73.2%). A Mann-Whitney U test showed there was a statistically significant difference between men and women for TB (W=11546.000, p=0.004) and FTP (W=11599.000, p=0.007), with women showing greater frequency of use. Mean recommended recare interval was 5 months, with <2 attended recare visits reported by sex and all types of MHD. Frequency of performing OHB, except for daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and returning for recare at recommended intervals was low for patients with self-reported MHD. 

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