Empowering Better Oral Health for Individuals with Mental Health Disorders
This blog post explores the complex relationship between mental health and oral health, highlights the barriers people with mental health disorders face in accessing dental care, and offers practical solutions to improve oral health outcomes for this population.
May 1, 2023
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it's the perfect time to shed light on the importance of addressing the oral health needs of people with mental health disorders (PMD). Mental and oral health are closely intertwined, and individuals living with mental health disorders often face unique challenges in maintaining optimal oral hygiene. At Theodent, we are committed to supporting the well-being of PMD by raising awareness about the barriers they encounter and offering practical solutions for improving oral health outcomes.

In this blog post, we will explore the complex relationship between mental health and oral health, discuss the barriers that PMD face in accessing dental care, and share how Theodent's fluoride-free toothpaste can play a significant role in enhancing at-home oral care for PMD. Additionally, we will offer some valuable tips for making dental visits more manageable for PMD, as regular dental check-ups remain crucial for maintaining optimal oral health.

Navigating Personal Barriers to Dental Care for PMD

Studies have shown that people with mental health disorders (PMD) tend to have poorer dental health than the general population. For various reasons, including stigma, feelings of shame, helplessness, and low self-esteem, PMD often underutilize dental services, especially for preventive care. The physical impacts of mental health can significantly affect energy levels and hinder the ability to perform essential self-care tasks.Additionally, financial barriers, such as lack of income and health insurance, along with dental fear and anxiety, contribute to the limited use of dental services among this population.

Addressing Healthcare System Limitations for PMD Oral Care

At the organizational level, healthcare providers may need more knowledge, training, or resources to adequately address the oral health needs of PMD. For example, mental health nurses may not have comprehensive protocols for oral care or the time to perform detailed dental assessments. Furthermore, dental professionals may not be well-prepared to treat patients with mental health disorders and may lack the patience, empathy, or specialized expertise to communicate with and treat these individuals effectively. 

Tackling Systemic Obstacles to Oral Health Care Access for PMD

Systemic barriers to oral health care for PMD include a need for interprofessional integration between dental, medical, and mental health services. Poor communication and unclear roles and responsibilities among healthcare providers can further exacerbate these issues. Additionally, the transition from institutional to community-based care has contributed to worsening oral health outcomes for PMD.

Fostering Collaborative Care Models for Enhanced PMD Oral Health

Despite these challenges, there are potential enablers and strategies for improving oral health outcomes for PMD. One such approach involves adopting a more collaborative, interprofessional model of care that encourages partnerships among dental professionals, other healthcare providers, community groups, and advocacy organizations. This approach can help to better address the unique needs of PMD, particularly when it comes to improving access to dental care and fostering a more supportive and empathetic care environment. 

Another critical aspect of improving oral health outcomes for PMD is addressing the broader social determinants of health. By tackling issues such as poverty, stigma, and health disparities, we can work to create a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system that better serves the needs of all individuals, including those with mental health disorders. 

Theodent's Innovative Solution for PMD Oral Hygiene

Theodent, a fluoride-free toothpaste company, offers a unique solution that can significantly benefit people with mental health disorders in their pursuit of better oral health. Theodent's innovative toothpaste uses a patented ingredient called Rennou™, derived from cacao. This natural ingredient has been scientifically proven to help strengthen and rebuild tooth enamel, providing a safe and effective alternative to traditional fluoride-based toothpastes.

For individuals with mental health disorders who may struggle with maintaining consistent oral hygiene routines or face challenges when accessing dental care, Theodent's toothpaste can provide a means to maintain good oral health from the comfort of their own home. Since Rennou™ is a non-toxic ingredient, Theodent toothpaste is a safer option for individuals who might be more sensitive to the potential side effects of fluoride or have difficulty with proper toothpaste usage due to cognitive impairments or other symptoms related to their mental health disorders.

Furthermore, Theodent's toothpaste comes in various formulations designed to address specific oral health concerns, such as Theodent Classic for general oral care and Theodent 300 for individuals with more severe enamel sensitivity or damage. This allows PMD to choose the most appropriate product for their specific needs, further supporting their oral health journey.

Moreover, Theodent Kids toothpaste offers a unique chocolate flavor that can be particularly beneficial for PMD who have aversions to certain flavors in toothpaste, such as mint. This alternative flavor can make tooth brushing more enjoyable and less distressing for those who struggle with sensory sensitivities or taste preferences related to their mental health disorders. 

Overcoming Dental Visit Challenges: A Guide for PMD

Although Theodent toothpaste can play a significant role in helping PMD maintain a high-quality oral care routine at home, it is not meant to be a direct replacement for professional dental care. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for everyone, including PMD, to ensure optimal oral health. We recommend that PMD visit a dentist regularly to keep their dental health in the best possible condition.

We understand that going to the dentist can be a challenging experience for PMD due to various factors, such as dental anxiety, financial barriers, and accessibility issues. To help overcome these challenges and make dental visits more manageable for PMD, here are some tips:

  • Find a compassionate dentist: Look for a dentist who is experienced in treating patients with mental health disorders and has a reputation for being patient, empathetic, and understanding. They should be willing to listen to your concerns and work with you to create a comfortable dental experience.
  • Communicate your needs: Be open with your dentist about your mental health disorder and any specific needs or accommodations you may require. This can help your dentist understand your situation better and tailor their approach to meet your needs.
  • Bring a trusted companion: If you feel anxious about going to the dentist, consider bringing a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional to provide support and reassurance during your visit.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: To help manage dental anxiety, try practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation, before and during your dental appointment.
  • Schedule appointments during less busy times: If possible, schedule your dental visits during less busy hours, such as early morning or late afternoon, to minimize the potential stress and sensory overload caused by crowded waiting rooms.
  • Discuss financial options: If dental care costs are a concern, talk to your dentist about payment plans or low-cost dental clinics that may be available in your area. Some dental practices may offer sliding-scale fees or special discounts for patients with financial difficulties.
  • Advocate for integrated care: Encourage collaboration between your mental health care providers and dental professionals to ensure that both aspects of your health are considered and addressed holistically.


Improving oral health outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. By addressing the challenges at individual, organizational, and systemic levels and fostering collaboration among healthcare providers, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for PMD. Theodent's fluoride-free toothpaste offers a valuable tool for maintaining good oral hygiene at home, but regular dental visits remain essential for overall dental health. By implementing the suggested tips and strategies, we hope to empower PMD to overcome the obstacles they may face in maintaining their oral health and ultimately improve their quality of life.


Slack-Smith, L, Hearn, L, Scrine, C and Durey, A (2017) Barriers and enablers for oral health care for people affected by mental health disorders. Australian Dental Journal doi: 10.1111/adj.12429
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