Just like illegal drugs can do serious damage to your mind and body, teeth are also at risk. In fact, it’s very common for frequent illegal drug users – especially those who use methamphetamine – to have brown, discolored teeth and red puffy gums.
Also see: 5 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth
If you or someone you know is using illegal drugs on a regular basis, please read the following information carefully. Dental health and overall well-being could be in serious jeopardy.
Here are some of the common illegal street drugs that pose the high risks to oral health:
- Cannabis – can cause dry mouth and can lead to an increased risk of gum problems. The smoke can cause oral cancer.
- Cocaine – also called coke, blow or nose candy. Users sometimes rub cocaine over their gums, causing ulceration of gums and the underlying bone. Cocaine mixed with saliva creates an extremely acidic solution which erodes tooth enamel and exposes the underlying dentine to decay-causing bacteria. Cocaine and crack cocaine cause dry mouth, which further increases the risk of tooth decay. Cocaine can cause tooth wear by bruxism (tooth grinding).
- Ecstasy – also called love drug, E and eckies. Side effects of the drug include bruxism (tooth grinding), jaw clenching and dry mouth.
- Heroin – also called H or smack. People who use heroin tend to crave sweet foods, which can increase the risk of tooth decay if dental hygiene is neglected. Heroin can also cause dry mouth and bruxism (tooth grinding),
- Methamphetamine – also called speed, ice or meth. This drug causes severe tooth decay in a very short time. Dental professionals have coined the term ‘meth mouth’ to describe the extensive damage typically caused by this drug. Methamphetamine is highly acidic and attacks tooth enamel. Other side effects include dry mouth, bruxism and jaw clenching.
Any drug use that causes a person to neglect their personal hygiene, diet and dental care can significantly increase their risk of dental problems. Seek treatment immediately.
If you’re recovering from excessive drug use and your teeth need immediate attention – give us a call. We are always sensitive to all of our patients’ health histories and needs – and we’ll give your teeth the attention they deserve.
Also see: Why Your Medical History is Important