Opioid Treatment

Is Your Suboxone-Based Opioid Treatment Leading to Tooth Decay?

Opioid addiction has become a pervasive issue worldwide, affecting millions of individuals and families. A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows its prevalence. The study found that at least 29% of US adults say that someone in their family may have been addicted to opioids. Surprisingly, a lot of this addiction comes from either prescription painkillers or an illegal substance.

In response, treatments like Suboxone, a medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone, have been developed to help individuals overcome opioid dependency. While Suboxone has shown promising results in addressing addiction, emerging concerns suggest a potential link between Suboxone-based treatment and tooth decay.

This article explores the relationship between Suboxone use and dental health, shedding light on individuals’ challenges.

Understanding Suboxone and its Impact

Suboxone is commonly prescribed to manage opioid addiction due to its ability to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This makes it an effective tool in addiction treatment programs. Its primary ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone, work together to alleviate withdrawal symptoms while blocking the euphoric effects of opioids. This reduces the likelihood of misuse.

Buprenorphine and naloxone are the most common ingredients in opioid addiction treatment medication. According to National Public Radio, one in five people with opioid use disorder get these medications. They are considered the gold standard for opioid treatment. Besides buprenorphine and methadone, some medications also include extended-release naltrexone.

While Suboxone offers a lifeline to individuals struggling with opioid addiction, it is essential to recognize its potential side effects. One such side effect gaining attention is its impact on dental health. Research suggests that long-term use of Suboxone may contribute to tooth decay and other oral health issues. This presents an added challenge for individuals on the path to recovery.

Exploring the Link Between Suboxone and Tooth Decay

The connection between Suboxone use and tooth decay stems from various factors, including its composition and side effects. Buprenorphine, a key component of Suboxone, can cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when the mouth fails to produce enough saliva to keep it moist and clean. Saliva is crucial in neutralizing acids, washing away food particles, and protecting teeth from decay. Therefore, reducing saliva production can lead to an environment conducive to dental problems, including tooth decay and gum disease.

Furthermore, individuals undergoing Suboxone treatment may experience changes in their dietary habits and oral hygiene practices. The medication’s impact on appetite and taste perception can influence food choices. It can potentially lead to increased consumption of sugary or acidic foods and beverages, contributing to tooth decay and erosion.

Moreover, individuals struggling with addiction often face barriers to accessing dental care, exacerbating existing oral health issues. Stigma, financial constraints, and logistical challenges may deter individuals from seeking timely dental treatment, allowing dental problems to escalate.

One study from the JAMA Network revealed dental adverse effects as 21.6 for 1000 person-years with sublingual buprenorphine or naloxone. The effects were reduced to 12.2 for 1000 person-years with transdermal buprenorphine and 10.9 for 1000 person-years with oral naltrexone.

The results of such studies have encouraged many victims of tooth decay due to Suboxone use to file lawsuits against the manufacturer. According to TruLaw, the plaintiffs claim that the manufacturer, Indivior, knew about these side effects but didn’t warn the public. This prevented the opioid users from making an informed decision about whether to use Suboxone.

If you have used Suboxone and developed tooth decay, you can also file a lawsuit. Find an attorney who can help you file the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit. The lawyer will be able to help throughout the legal process and ensure you get the right compensation for your damages.

Attorneys have the skills to negotiate with insurance companies to get you the best settlement amount. Moreover, they can also help collect evidence to strengthen your case.

Strategies for Maintaining Dental Health During Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone or buprenorphine use can impact your dental health. However, it does not mean that Suboxone is not effective in what it does.

A study from The American Journal of Psychiatry proves its effectiveness. The study reveals that the risk of death is reduced by 66%–80% for those who use buprenorphine for opioid use disorder.

Thus, using Suboxone for opioid use treatment is still a viable option. To prevent tooth decay, you can take proactive measures to safeguard your dental health. Here are some tips you can use:

  • Regular dental check-ups: Prioritize routine dental visits to monitor oral health status and address any emerging issues promptly. Dentists can provide professional cleanings, fluoride treatments, and personalized recommendations for maintaining oral hygiene.
  • Optimal oral hygiene practices: Maintain diligent oral hygiene habits, including brushing teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing between teeth, etc.
  • Hydration and saliva stimulation: Drink water frequently throughout the day to stay hydrated and reduce the symptoms of dry mouth. Consuming sugar-free candies or chewing gum can also help increase salivation, lessening dry mouth symptoms.
  • Nutritional awareness: Reduce the amount of sugary and acidic foods and drinks in your diet, as these can aggravate tooth decay. Choose wholesome, well-balanced meals and snacks to support your general and oral health.
  • Open communication with healthcare providers: Maintain open dialogue with providers, including prescribing physicians and dentists, regarding any concerns or side effects experienced during Suboxone treatment. Collaboration among healthcare professionals can ensure comprehensive care tailored to individual needs.
  • Limit sugary and acidic diet: Acidic and sugary foods and beverages can erode and cause dental decay. To preserve your teeth, reduce the amount of these substances you consume.
  • Avoid tobacco products: Smoking or using other tobacco products can increase the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental problems. If you smoke, consider quitting or seeking support to quit.
  • Consider prescription products: Your dentist may recommend prescription products such as fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste to help prevent dental decay and strengthen your teeth.
  • Address dental anxiety: If you experience dental anxiety, talk to your dentist about your concerns. They can work with you to create a comfortable and stress-free environment for your dental visits.

To conclude, suboxone-based opioid treatment has revolutionized addiction care, offering hope and support to individuals striving for recovery. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the potential impact of Suboxone on dental health and take proactive steps to mitigate associated risks. 

By prioritizing regular dental care, individuals undergoing Suboxone treatment can safeguard their dental health on the journey to recovery. With concerted efforts and comprehensive support, individuals can navigate the complexities of addiction treatment while preserving their smiles.