The dangers of drug addiction are many. Yet one byproduct of drug addiction—negligence in oral care—has the potential to be as lethal as the addiction itself.
In 2009, the American Academy of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology issued literature showing a direct correlation between heart disease and gum disease. So while a person’s addiction may be doing incredible damage to their body, it’s possible that a lack of proper dental care—and conditions resulting from that–will escalate an already bad situation.
“By not taking care of your teeth, plaque build-up occurs, leading to gingivitis or more serious gum disease. With that comes inflammation and bleeding of the gums. This condition makes you more susceptible to infection, which is not an ideal scenario for anybody, but even more so for someone addicted to drugs who has a compromised immune system,” said Dr. Richard Wolfert, DMD, whose practice, The Toothboss, is located at 1121 Main Street in South Weymouth.
Dr. Wolfert notes that those addicted to opioids and other narcotics face a number of challenges that compromise oral health. For example, stomach acid from reflux and vomiting eats away at the enamel of the teeth, exposing the dentin, and making teeth more porous. This makes teeth more susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
“One of the larger issues is the analgesic qualities in certain drugs. So someone with an addition to an opioid, for example, may not feel the pain of a serious dental problem and not seek medical attention,” said Dr. Wolfert.
Opioids aren’t the only addictive drug that poses a danger to oral care. Stimulant drugs like ecstasy, amphetamines, and cocaine can cause jaw clenching, chattering, and teeth grinding. This can cause chipped teeth, decay, and once again puts you at greater risk of infection.
“If you have somebody in your life suffering through drug addition, your first priority is to get them the help they need to get clean. Part of that help should include a trip to the dentist for an examination to determine if there’s a serious issue that needs addressing,” said Dr. Wolfert.
If you have someone in your life going through drug addiction and are unsure on how or where to get them the help they need, you can visit www.drugrehab.org.
About The Toothboss
The Toothboss offers: comprehensive examinations (written treatment and treatment plan provided); cosmetics; crowns, bridges and tooth-colored restorations; partial and full dentures; periodontics (early cases treated); oral surgery; restoration of conventional and small diameter implants; and emergency services (24-hour emergency phone number available).
The Toothboss accepts most insurance plans. They also accept payment from most PPO and indemnity plans, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Delta Dental. They also accept all major credit cards and have arranged payment plans through Springstone.
To schedule an initial consultation, please call 781-335-0604. For more information, visit www.toothboss.com.