Drug addiction seems to be a topic we can no longer avoid—and for good reason. The number of Americans who die due to drug overdose rises each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 17,000 Americans died of an overdose in 1999. That number more than doubled in 2007, with 36,000 deaths. And that number continues to rise. In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans lost their lives to overdose—about 47,000 of those from opioids.
Those numbers are bleak, but around the country, organizations are teaming up to combat the crisis. And, according to a new study, the dental industry can play its own important role.
Improving Outcomes Through Dentistry
Recently, a study published by the University of Utah in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that people treated for substance abuse disorders had better outcomes when their oral problems were addressed, too.
More specifically, patients stayed in treatment nearly twice as long and had an 80 percent increase in program completion. Patients with a new smile also experienced an increase in quality of life, with a decrease in homelessness and an increase in employment. The researchers also believe the smile makeover gave the patients a confidence boost.
Surprised? Neither are we.
What Does This Mean for You?
The study doesn’t just impact those struggling with addiction, however. It’s important for dentists, like those at Contemporary Dentist, who are passionate about not just improving their patients’ smiles, but lives as well, to see the impact of oral care. But the findings also have implications for those struggling with other ailments and healthy patients, too.
Authors of the study say oral care may be life changing for those with chronic health problems like diabetes. In truth, the potential impact could be endless—proof that your dental health is invariably tied to your overall health. Those of us who have felt the self-consciousness of a less-than-perfect smile, and those of us who have experienced the relief after treatment to solve it, know firsthand.
Stop Suffering—Get Treatment
If you’ve been putting off dental treatment because you believe it’s strictly cosmetic, take this as a wake-up call. Your dental health is important, whether that means receiving treatment for TMJ, correcting a crowded mouth or brightening a smile. If you’re unhappy with your smile, it is affecting your health, and we know the importance of keeping the whole body healthy at Contemporary Dentistry.