How Safe Is Suboxone For Your Teeth?


If you’ve struggled with addiction and are using Suboxone to stay clean, you may not have considered the impact it could be having on your teeth.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a powerful opioid that can help curb cravings, but it may also be stealthily damaging your enamel. Many who take Suboxone long-term have complained of deteriorating dental health and painful problems like tooth decay.

But is there really a link? And if so, what can users do to protect their smile? Join us as we dive into the latest research on Suboxone’s effects below the surface.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication designed to address opioid dependence in individuals, including those addicted to drugs like heroin or morphine, who have committed to addiction treatment. It is utilized in adults and adolescents aged 15 and above, provided they are concurrently receiving medical, social, and psychological support.

Comprising two active components, buprenorphine, and naloxone, Suboxone has demonstrated effectiveness comparable to buprenorphine alone and superior to placebo in reducing opioid use.In the research of 326 heroin users, 17.8% of individuals on Suboxone had no opioids in their urine after four weeks, compared to 5.8% in the placebo group.

Additionally, patients recorded their cravings using a validated questionnaire. The craving score, initially between 62.4 and 65.6, decreased to 29.8 with Suboxone at the study’s conclusion, compared to 55.1 with the placebo.

Does Suboxone Negatively Affect Your Teeth?

Yes, there is a chance that Suboxone or other buprenorphine medications could exacerbate dental issues. These medications, including Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone), are typically dissolved under the tongue or against the cheek, as buprenorphine is efficiently absorbed through the mouth membranes.

However, the naloxone component, aimed at preventing misuse, does not have an effect when taken as prescribed.

The FDA released a statement in January 2022 outlining possible dental problems related to oral dissolution of buprenorphine medicines. These include cavities, oral infections, tooth deterioration, and tooth loss. This information raises concerns among individuals undergoing medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

There have been concerns raised about potential dental complications associated with the opioid addiction medication Suboxone. A lawsuit known as the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit has been filed, claiming that the drug’s acidic nature could cause serious tooth damage, especially for those using the sublingual film version.

The legal claims argue that manufacturers failed to adequately warn patients about possible risks like tooth decay and related dental issues.

According to TruLaw, the lawsuits have specifically named Indivior Inc., Aquestive Therapeutics Inc., and Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. as defendants.

In late 2023, attorneys representing individuals experiencing dental problems while taking Suboxone filed a motion to combine all relevant cases into a consolidated lawsuit.

By December, the defendants agreed to this consolidation. This suggests a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) will likely be established to manage the cases centrally.

It is expected that the MDL overseeing the centralized Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuits will be in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Suppose you took the branded Suboxone medication and subsequently experienced tooth decay, loss of teeth, or other dental concerns. In that case, you may be able to sue the manufacturers of Suboxone and obtain legal compensation.

Protecting Your Oral Health on Suboxone

You can take Suboxone and safeguard your oral health. As highlighted by the FDA, the advantages of buprenorphine-naloxone as a treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) outweigh the associated risks. Implement these tips to minimize the likelihood of dental issues while using Suboxone.

Following Proper Technique

It’s critical to adhere to your treatment team’s directions when using suboxone. By doing this, you can minimize hazards and make sure you get the full advantages of your prescription. If taking multiple strips or tablets, consider placing them both in your mouth at once to reduce acid exposure time.

Rinsing After Dosing

Once the Suboxone has fully dissolved, swish a mouthful of water around your mouth to remove any remaining residue. This helps flush away medication that could cause issues if left in contact with teeth and gums.

Waiting to Brush Teeth

The acid in Suboxone can temporarily soften enamel while dissolving. To avoid abrasion, wait at least an hour after dosing before brushing your teeth. This allows enamel time to reharden before mechanical scrubbing occurs.

Communicating with Your Dentist

Be upfront with your dentist about Suboxone use, and keep up with routine cleanings and checkups. Notify them promptly about any oral health changes.

If dental work is needed, your treatment team can devise a post-procedure pain management plan using alternatives like NSAIDs or adjusted dosing. Managing pain carefully helps avoid the risk of relapse or dependence on other opioids. Open communication between all providers involved in your care is important for oral and overall health while using Suboxone.

In summary, while Suboxone can help many overcome opioid addiction, its formulation means it comes with risks of damaging dental health when taken long term. The lawsuits reflect real concerns users have experienced with tooth decay.

However, by carefully following dosing instructions, rinsing the mouth afterward, waiting to brush teeth, and maintaining open communication between all treatment providers, it is possible to minimize these risks and continue benefiting from Suboxone’s lifesaving effects. With careful oral hygiene and medical supervision, Suboxone can certainly be incorporated safely into an addiction recovery plan.