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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Addiction and Your Oral Health


People with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care, according to a study published in the scientific journal Addiction. The review combined the results of 28 studies from around the world, which collectively provided data on 4,086 dental patients with substance use disorders.

Researchers noted that beyond lack of regular dental care, there are many ways that drug use and the lifestyle that usually accompanies it can have an adverse impact on your oral health. This includes: 
  • Dry mouth
  • An increased urge for snacking
  • Clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Chemical erosion, from applying cocaine to teeth and gums 
  • High-sugar diets
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene
What’s more, dental care can be further compromised due to tolerance to painkillers and anesthetics.

Oral hygiene is not only important for self-esteem and overall good health, but it can also help prevent the following conditions caused by the chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood that accompany bad teeth:
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory disease
Luckily, dentists can take a few simple steps to help improve the problem, including screening patients for any advanced dental or periodontal disease inconsistent with patient age. Doctors and clinicians should also consider using sugar-free preparations when prescribing methadone and educate people suffering from addiction on the oral health risks associated with dry mouth and cravings for sweet foods, say researchers. 

In addition, dental experts note that making good hygiene a habit can help prevent most dental problems:
  • Brush twice a day – in the morning and last thing at night 
  • Clean between the teeth at least once a day with ‘interdental' brushes or floss 
  • Cut back on sugary foods and drinks
  • Go for regular dental check-ups 
Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance use disorders is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Red Oak can make sure you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

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