Are You In Recovery From Substance Abuse? 3 Strategies To Get Back On Track With Your Dental Health

Posted on: 10 February 2018

There is no way around it. Substance abuse often takes its toll on teeth. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol tend to decrease saliva production and create an environment where cavities and gum disease flourish. Now that you are sober, you naturally want to jumpstart your new healthy lifestyle by taking back control over your dental health. As you begin to rebuild your health and happiness, use these tips to restore your smile.

Start a Home Care Routine

When you were in the throes of addiction, it is possible that you may have neglected basic oral hygiene care such as brushing your teeth. Fortunately, you can start taking care of your smile right away by setting up a new hygiene routine. To help you establish the habit, set an alarm that goes off twice a day. Then, brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time and follow up with flossing. If you are unsure if you are flossing correctly, then ask your dentist to assess your technique. This way, you can avoid causing damage by brushing too hard or popping the floss to rough against your gums.

Schedule a Comprehensive Oral Exam

Dental anxiety is common among people in recovery, but delaying care over fear or potential embarrassment does not do anything to help things get better. Keep in mind that dentists see many different types of oral health problems, and their only concern is helping you restore your smile. If you feel nervous seeking dental care after many months or years of going without, then just let the office staff know when you make your appointment. During your visit, they can talk to you about each step so that you know what to expect.

Be Honest About Your Recovery

When you go to your first dental exam, talk to the dentist about your recovery and past history of drug or alcohol use. This way, they can check for common problems that occur with substance abuse such as enamel erosion. Your dental care provider can also help you identify the best methods for pain relief. For instance, they may be able to prescribe non-habit forming pain relievers so that treatment does not interfere with your sobriety.

The process of recovering from addiction often reveals changes that you need to make in other aspects of your life, and you should feel comfortable flashing your smile at all of your new sober friends. By working with a dentist that understands addiction, you can move forward with restoring your smile. Visit a site like for more help.