University of Utah’s School of Dentistry researchers investigated the effects of treating people in drug rehabilitation programs, with comprehensive dental treatment. They found that those who had their dental issues treated had an 80% increase in finishing their drug treatment program.
Other positive effects from getting dental treatment included an increase in quality of life, better employment prospects, decrease homelessness and reduced chance of drug use relapse.
The study followed patients in enrolled in two Salt Lake City Utah substance abuse centers. They compared two groups. One group of patients was assigned to get dental treatment. Another group chose to get dental treatment. Both groups had exactly the same positive outcomes.
Researchers theorized that by treating the whole patient, including getting dental work done, improved the overall quality of life and raised patient self-esteem. While not a panacea, this research indicates that a holistic patient health approach, may improve addiction treatment outcomes.