Improving oral health in people with severe mental illness (SMI): A systematic review

Alexandra Macnamara, Masuma Pervin Mishu, Mehreen Riaz Faisal, Mohammed Islam, Emily Peckham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Those with severe mental illness (SMI) are at greater risk of having poor oral health, which can have an impact on daily activities such as eating, socialising and working. There is currently a lack of evidence to suggest which oral health interventions are effective for improving oral health outcomes for people with SMI.

AIMS: This systematic review aims to examine the effectiveness of oral health interventions in improving oral health outcomes for those with SMI.

METHODS: The review protocol was registered with PROSPERO (ID CRD42020187663). Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED, HMIC, CINAHL, Scopus and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies, along with conference proceedings and grey literature sources. Titles and abstracts were dual screened by two reviewers. Two reviewers also independently performed full text screening, data extraction and risk of bias assessments. Due to heterogeneity between studies, a narrative synthesis was undertaken.

RESULTS: In total, 1462 abstracts from the database search and three abstracts from grey literature sources were identified. Following screening, 12 studies were included in the review. Five broad categories of intervention were identified: dental education, motivational interviewing, dental checklist, dietary change and incentives. Despite statistically significant changes in plaque indices and oral health behaviours as a result of interventions using dental education, motivational interviewing and incentives, it is unclear if these changes are clinically significant.

CONCLUSION: Although some positive results in this review demonstrate that dental education shows promise as an intervention for those with SMI, the quality of evidence was graded as very low to moderate quality. Further research is in this area is required to provide more conclusive evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260766
Number of pages24
JournalPLOS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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© 2021 Macnamara et al

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