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Poor Oral Health Linked to Substance Abuse

Poor Oral Health Linked to Substance AbuseA new research effort discovers a majority of substance-dependent individuals have poor oral health.

Given the frequency of poor hygiene, investigators believe discussion of oral health may be an “entry-level” opportunity to engage addicts to improve their health and wellness.

Boston University researchers studied alcohol, stimulant, opioid and marijuana users. The subjects were asked to self-report their oral health status on a five-point scale ranging from poor to excellent.

Statistical analysis of the patients’ reports found no significant associations between the types of substances used and oral health status. The results did show, however, that 60 percent of all subjects reported fair or poor oral health. Opioid users in the sample also exhibited worse oral health compared to one year ago.

“We found that the majority of our sample reported fair or poor oral health,” said Meredith D’Amore, M.P.H.

“Thus, oral health should be considered a significant health problem among individuals with substance dependence and providers should be aware of potential oral health issues.”

The researchers hope that their findings prompt more oral health interventions targeted toward individuals with substance dependence in the future. They also suggest that engaging addicts in medical care discussions may be facilitated by addressing oral health concerns.

The research is found online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Source: Boston University Medical Center

Poor Oral Health Linked to Substance Abuse

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Poor Oral Health Linked to Substance Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/04/15/poor-oral-health-linked-to-substance-abuse/25358.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.