The purpose of this review of the literature is to present a contemporary perspective related to the nursing care of hospitalized mental health patients who have risk of developing oral health issues. Mental illness is a major health concern worldwide. Compounding this health issue, mental health patients/clients demonstrate avoidant behaviours related to oral health, and the symptoms of mental illness can be a compounding factor. Oral health and oral inflammatory disease are the result of lifestyle and behaviour and mental disorders affect both lifestyle and behaviour. The search used the search terms oral health AND nursing AND mental illness AND Published Date 2005 to 2010. For those who experience mental illness oral health assessment is not routinely practised by clinicians. The importance of special attention to dental problems for people with mental disorders has also been stressed by researchers since the lifespan of people with serious mental disorders is shortened compared to the general population. Oral health care is an important part of treatment. Routine oral care for hospitalized patients is imperative, and this is usually the responsibility of nurses without sufficient knowledge in oral care or comprehensive protocols to follow.