Oral Care and Substance Abuse

Did you know that getting dental care for oral health problems while in substance abuse recovery can help increase your chances of success? According to a study completed by the Utah School of Dentistry and reported by Science Daily, individuals who underwent dental treatments for oral health problems remained in treatment twice as long as those who did not receive dental treatment for their tooth decay and gum disease.

The Relationship Between Oral Health Care and Substance Abuse

The study that tested the relationship between oral health care and substance abuse recovery was called FLOSS, which stood for Facilitating a Lifetime of Oral Health Sustainability for Substance Use Disorder. They studied two groups of individuals of all ages with various types of chemical dependencies. The first group received comprehensive dental care. The second group did not receive any dental care. At the end of the study, it was determined that those who received dental care during their substance use disorder treatment programs achieved better overall outcomes. More of the FLOSS participants who received dental care were gainfully employed, had fewer instances of homelessness, and had fewer relapses into chemical dependency.

How Oral Health Care Achieves Better Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Outcomes

The researchers performing the study attributed the improved outcomes to improved self-esteem. Individuals with substance use disorder often have low self-esteem. While low self-esteem can be due to a variety of reasons, individuals who are chemically dependent on a substance, like alcohol, heroin, pain medications, cocaine and crack, may feel lost and alone. They also may feel like they cannot regain control of their lives, especially when they begin the detox process and start to notice their overall appearance and the appearance of their teeth.

This is because drug dependency negatively affects an individual’s appearance, from their face and body, to their teeth and gums. The individual may fail to brush and floss their teeth, and forget to schedule oral health care appointments with their local dentist. This can result in tooth loss, loose teeth, large cavities, stained teeth, and severe instances of gum disease.

As the individual regains their sobriety, having bad teeth and gums can be a reminder of their issues with substance use disorder. With that constant reminder, it may be more difficult for the individual to put their past behind them and move forward into a positive, productive, and sober lifestyle. Bad teeth may also hinder their ability to achieve gainful employment and make a good impression during job interviews and social functions.

By getting their teeth fixed via regular dental cleanings, tooth restoration services, and teeth whitening treatments, individuals who are participating in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program can see almost immediate progress when it comes to their appearance. Instead of having stained, missing, and unsightly teeth, they now have a set of beautiful white teeth that they can be proud to show off. They may associate their ability to have great looking teeth with their choice to enter and stay in treatment. Not to mention, having clean white straight teeth and healthy gums helps make a good first impression during social functions, which means people may look upon them more favorably and with compassion.

Oral Health Care with Our Orthodontist in Melbourne, FL

Our orthodontist offers adult orthodontics to treat severe dental problems and to straighten teeth. We offer traditional braces, clear braces, oral appliances, early treatment, night guards, and even invisible braces in Melbourne, like Invisalign. These services can help individuals who are undergoing treatment for substance use disorder feel better about themselves and the appearance of their teeth so that they can continue their treatment and move forward to a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

To schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, give us a call at 321-254-5232.