Can complementary oral care play a part in substance abuse recovery

A team of US researchers have found that a comprehensive oral healthcare program can improve the therapeutic results of people seeking to recover from substance abuse disorder (SUD).

Working with two treatment centres in Salt Lake City from 2015 to 2017, the team from the University of Utah School of Dentistry observed that people with SUD typically have poor oral health, which, according to the Dental Tribune, “also damages interpersonal skills and results in poor nutrition, increased oral and general infections, and debilitating oral pain.”

Given the key role oral health plays in a person’s general health and overall sense of wellbeing, the research project sought to determine how the presence of comprehensive dental treatment affected the recovery of two groups identified as having major dental needs.

Compared to a control group who were not provided with comprehensive dental treatment, the improvement in results for those with dental treatment were remarkable, notes Dental Tribune.

“The study reported that participants who had their major oral health problems addressed by a dental professional stayed in treatment approximately twice as long and had a more than 80 percent increase in completing their substance abuse treatment program. Therefore, the researchers believe that providing complete oral care as part of therapy is critical to resurrecting self-esteem and restoring important body functions.”

For more on this study, read “Scientists find a link between improved oral care and substance abuse recovery”

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