If you have been tasked with making the health care decisions for a person with schizophrenia, you might already be familiar with the unique challenges associated with that diagnosis. Whether you have had to determine which side effects of a new antipsychotic medication are acceptable for the patient, given the benefit expected of that new medicine, or needed to decide if an exacerbation of their illness warranted discussing with the doctor the possibility of a temporary commitment to a mental health facility, your responsibilities have been intense and ongoing. However, it's also very important to consider the person's dental care and cleanings, which might be especially problematic due to his or her disease, as explained below:
Understanding The Issues Associated With Dry Mouth
It is important to note that many medications currently available in the United States today are known to cause dry mouth, including some that are used to treat some symptoms of schizophrenia. While that issue might seem minor to many people, in that you would simply drink more fluids, persons suffering from schizophrenia may not always be aware of the issue or be in a position to consistently address it. Therefore, the problem persists, often over a long period of time.
Since dry mouth is known to contribute to tooth decay, which can also link to a variety of serious health problems, it is essential for schizophrenic patients to see a dentist on a regular basis.
The Very Symptoms Of Schizophrenia Can Make Providing Self-care More Difficult To Provide
It only makes sense that if a person, for any reason, does not brush and floss their teeth daily as dentists recommend. Sadly, some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, including paranoia, disorganization, and a lack of logical thinking, manifest as an inability to provide their own dental care. By extension, cavities, decay, pain, and infection are much more likely.
Given that research has suggested that about one in three homeless persons have a major mental illness like manic-depression or schizophrenia, it is also quite likely that an affected person might not have access to the tools for the necessary self-care. As a result, it is often necessary for a responsible third-party to intervene and schedule the professional dental care that the person needs, in order to prevent additional health problems from forming.
In conclusion, professional dental cleanings are important for everyone and are often even more so for a person living with schizophrenia. If you are in charge of the health care choices for someone with that diagnosis, the above information will be quite useful.
Contact a dental office like The Downtown Dental Clinic for more information and assistance.