MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — One often overlooked aspect of the opioid epidemic is the connection to dental treatments. In fact, dentists and oral surgeons write 10 percent of all opioid prescriptions, including approximately 39 percent of opioid prescriptions for adolescents. With February serving as National Children’s Dental Health Month, this provides an opportunity to recognize the risks for young people – and provide a reminder for parents – about the connection between oral health and opioids.
The opioid epidemic is affecting countless lives and communities across the country, each day causing more than 130 overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
While opioids are necessary for some medical conditions, these powerful drugs – such as oxycodone or Vicodin – come with a high risk of misuse and dependency. This is especially true for teens and young adults, in part because adolescent brains are not fully matured and are more susceptible to the effects of opioids.
Dr. Ted Wong, Chief Dental Officer of UnitedHealthcare, joined us to discuss opioids and oral health, as well as provide additional information to help encourage proper dental health for everyone.
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