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How Does Dental Care Relate to Addiction (and Recovery)?

How Does Dental Care Relate to Addiction (and Recovery)?

There is a hidden mouth-body connection that often gets missed when discussing nutrition and health. The mouth is the gateway for the entire body. Dental health provides clues to underlying health issues. For people in recovery from addiction, dental care is key to keeping the entire mind and body healthy.

Microbiome and Health

Dental healthcare has, in a way, been ahead of the times in respect to how bugs and bacteria are a necessary part of our health. Tooth decay and gum disease are driven by harmful bacteria and may even have links to serious end-stage diseases like heart disease. One of the biggest advances in medicine lately is the understanding of the gut microbiome and its role in chronic diseases in the whole body. The mouth is linked to the guy, so oral care is crucial to overall care.

Turning Dental Health Around

People with addiction and substance use generally have poor dentition due to taking in toxic substances into the body, not eating or sleeping properly, and therefore negatively impacting the gut microbiome. This throws off the balance of everything in the body, leading to poor dental care, hygiene, bad breath, decay, and more. Some ways to turn things around and achieve better oral health care include:

  • Learning proper breathing techniques including nasal-breathing, tongue posture, and facial-muscle balance that bring more oxygen into the body
  • Chewing hard, fibrous, collagenous foods that deliver physical nutrients to the jaw
  • Getting enough fat-soluble vitamins, including A,D, and others that are vital parts of a healthy human diet. Every meal should be based on getting enough nutrients. Whole-fat animal foods are good, including organ meats, egg yolks, and butter.

Some things can be harmful to overall health, but also dental health. Some things to stop doing or correct may include:

  • Drinking too much caffeinated or sugary drinks
  • Eating too many foods with high sugar, fat, and carbs
  • Watching the interaction of medications with gut health. Speak to a treating physician that can help look at ways of repopulating the gut bacteria that are helpful to overall health if medications are decreasing vitamins or overall health of the body.

In recovery programs, dental health is not always discussed by itself. But at Serenity, we focus on the whole person, from head to toe. We look at your overall health and wellness goals to help you achieve balance in finding the right medication and programs that will support your detox and recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401