How Oral Care and Substance Use Are Linked

Are you recovering from substance use disorder and noticed that your teeth and gums aren’t as healthy as you’d like? Individuals in the grip of substance use disorder may not brush, floss, or visit their local dentist for regular teeth cleanings. As you progress through your recovery and move toward a healthy lifestyle, you may begin to feel self-conscious about your teeth. Thankfully, our dentist offers general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services that can improve the health of your mouth and make you feel great about your smile.

Oral Health and Substance Abuse Recovery

Substance abuse recovery is all about making positive changes in your life, and improving the appearance of the teeth. This includes treating oral health problems like cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth. Treatment for the appearance of teeth has been proven to increase the chances of success when participating in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. In fact, according to a study performed by researchers at the Utah School of Dentistry and reported by Science Daily, individuals recovering from substance use disorder stayed in treatment twice as long when they had their oral health problems treated. They were also 80 percent more likely to complete their treatment programs.

Understanding Why Oral Health Declines with Substance Use Disorder

When individuals are in the grip of substance use disorder, oral health is often neglected. Individuals forget to brush and floss their teeth and don’t schedule regular dental checkups, but the reasons for increased tooth decay, discoloration, and gum disease are numerous and include:

  • Not feeling tooth and gum pain due to the effects of the drugs
  • Reduced immune system effectiveness due to drug or alcohol use
  • Teeth grinding and jaw clenching from the use of stimulants
  • Worn enamel due to frequent vomiting and acid reflux caused by drug and alcohol use

Improving Oral Health During Drug or Alcohol Rehabilitation

If you have gingivitis, periodontal disease, loose or missing teeth, cavities, or tooth discoloration from substance abuse, our compassionate dentist. Dr. Tiffany Shields in Jacksonville, Florida can help you.

Your Initial Appointment

Improving your oral health starts with an initial appointment and dental cleaning. During this appointment, our dentist will take dental x-rays and examine your mouth to determine if you have any cavities, gum disease, or other oral health problems. If you have cavities, we will fill them during the appointment. If you have severe gum disease, you may need a deep cleaning or root planing, which helps remove all the bacteria and infection from between your teeth and gums. This often requires more than one appointment, but after the cleaning process is complete, you’ll notice fewer stains on your teeth and that your teeth are whiter.

Your Treatment Plan

Your initial appointment is also when we will develop your long-term treatment plan. This may include how often you should have your teeth cleaned in order to prevent future tooth decay and gum disease, and a plan for replacing missing teeth. If you are missing one or more teeth, we offer dental crowns and bridges as well as dental implants.

If you are worried about having crooked teeth or your teeth aren’t as white as you like after being cleaned, we also offer teeth whitening services and veneers. Teeth whitening can help give you the bright, white smile you desire. Veneers help improve the appearance of the teeth and can take care of minor problems, like small gaps, chips, and cracks.

Your Improved Smile

Once your teeth are clean, white, and straight and we’ve filled your cavities and replaced missing teeth, you’ll feel better about your appearance and will be more eager to show off your smile. You’ll also notice an increase in your overall self-esteem. You’ll be eager to continue on your journey to recovery and leading a sober lifestyle.

To schedule an appointment for a dental checkup, teeth cleaning, or cosmetic dentistry consultation in Jacksonville, FL, contact us today at 904-731-0777!


Contact us

Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217