Statement of Acknowledgement

We acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians on whose ancestral lands we provide dental services.

We acknowledge the deep feeling of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Country.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending our services.

We are committed to improving the oral health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

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Clinic closure

Our Birkenhead (Le Fevre) clinic is currently closed. Please phone (08) 8243 5629 during this period.

Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs

dentist talking to patient

Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use can harm your oral health

To have better general and oral health it is best to avoid tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.

The risks of recreational drug use, drinking alcohol and smoking are serious, especially if you combine the three habits.

Some substances carry a higher risk to our general and oral health including:

  • tobacco (via smoking and vaping)
  • alcohol
  • cannabis
  • cocaine
  • ecstasy (MDMA)
  • heroin
  • methamphetamine
  • caffeine
  • any medication taken without a prescription or supervision from a treating health professional.

The use of tobacco, drugs and alcohol can cause:

  • stained/discoloured teeth
  • bad breath
  • altered taste
  • reduced saliva flow and dry mouth.

You are more likely to also experience:

  • tooth sensitivity
  • tooth wear
  • tooth decay
  • gum diseases
  • tooth loss
  • oral cancer.

People who use drugs, smoke and consume alcohol are at an increased risk of oral cancer. If you notice any changes in your mouth or have any non-healing mouth sores, speak to your doctor or dental professional as soon as possible.

What can you do?

It’s never too late to seek help!

  • Maintain regular dental visits - this will help you keep on top of your oral health with early detection and treatment of any dental issues.
  • Aim to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Spit the toothpaste out but don't rinse so the fluoride can work for longer.
  • Drink tap water and eat tooth-friendly foods such as plain dairy products (cheese, milk, yoghurt) and vegetables.
  • Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks (processed foods, soft drinks, energy drinks).
  • Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after any sweet-tasting medicine or drug replacement therapy, such as methadone.
  • If you vomit, wait for 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid damaging softer enamel softened by the acidic vomit (instead, rinse with water and smear a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your teeth).

What support is available?

It is important to discuss any tobacco, drug or alcohol use with your dental professional.

This includes any prescription, non-prescription and recreational drugs you are taking. By understanding your dental risks better, SA Dental staff can provide the best support possible.

There are also other support services available that can offer free and confidential advice.

If you smoke or vape and are thinking about quitting, speak to SA Dental staff or call the Quitline on 13 78 48.

For information on alcohol and recreational drug use, contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1300 131 340.