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Dealing with Methadone Tooth Decay. Does Suboxone Also Cause Tooth Decay?
Keep Those Pearly Whites!
Does methadone cause tooth decay or tooth pain? Does Suboxone cause the same types of dental problems?
Methadone is a very effective medication for the treatment of opiate addiction. There are a number of harmful myths surrounding the use of methadone, but people who claim that methadone has had an adverse effect on their dental health are probably telling the truth. Methadone can be harmful to your teeth, and can cause tooth decay – but probably not more than any other opiate!
Methadone and Tooth Decay
All opiates cause a reduction in mouth saliva (dry mouth) and this continual reduction in anti bacterial saliva can lead to an increase in plaque and dental bacteria, and exacerbate the harms of sugar in the diet.
So yes, methadone can lead to tooth decay (but it doesn't have to…see below) but avoiding methadone out of a fear of tooth decay makes little sense if it means that you stay on the opiate you are abusing – because it also causes a reduction in saliva and tooth decay!
Suboxone and Tooth Decay
Suboxone (a partial type of opiate) does not cause any significant reduction in saliva and is not associated with tooth decay. Suboxone is not right for everyone, and if you are on a high daily dose of opiates, you may not get the withdrawal symptoms relief you need from Suboxone (buprenorphine) talk to your doctor about whether Suboxone will work for you.
How to Avoid Tooth Decay While on Methadone
Methadone increases the risks of tooth decay by drying out the mouth. You can avoid methadone tooth decay by taking some preventative steps – steps that are just plain old fashioned good oral hygiene.
- Chew sugar free gum! This is probably the best way to counteract the mouth drying effects of methadone. Methadone dries out the mouth – the act of chewing gum stimulates saliva production and nullifies the effects of the methadone!
- Rinse your mouth out with water after eating, especially after eating sugary foods!
- Floss twice a day
- Brush 3 or 4times per day
- Use antiseptic mouthwashes 2-3 times per day (Listerine)
- Go the dentist for regular cleanings.
Nothing you haven’t heard before – but all easy to take steps that will eliminate the problems of methadone tooth decay.
Methadone does case an increased risk of dental problems, but since these problems are so easily overcome (And since drugs like heroin or other pain pills will also cause tooth decay) a fear of dental problems is no reason to avoid methadone.
Suboxone is not known to cause dental problems, and is a good substitute for methadone for some people. Suboxone will not work for everyone.