Does Cocaine Use Cause Bad Breath?
I used to go out and do cocaine on the weekends. I used it casually. My main drug was alcohol which I used with cocaine as well. It seemed like the perfect match. It wasn’t until my recovery at The Discovery House that I realized how dangerous the match was and how potentially lethal and, well, gross it could be.
In more ways than one, cocaine is a very dangerous drug. The mental and psychological effects of the drug are bad enough, but the damage that it does on the body is just as harmful. Like a lot of other drugs, the effects of cocaine on the mouth are devastating.
Dry mouth, tooth decay, lesions, and other infections can easily result after long term Cocaine use. When your teeth are in that bad of shape, your breath is going to suffer greatly.
Tooth decay is a very common side effect of cocaine use. Heavy cocaine use can cause a condition called Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. When you have dry mouth, you are not producing saliva at a normal rate.
Saliva keeps your teeth clean and helps prevent cavities and gum disease. The dry mouth that is associated with drug use becomes a chronic condition, leaving your gums and teeth vulnerable to the acidic contents of drugs like Cocaine.
No matter what way you ingest cocaine, it is going to do damage. Cocaine is most commonly snorted or smoked. Snorting cocaine causes damage to the tissue between your nose and mouth, which can eventually lead to a hole in the septum.
Cocaine is also very acidic. The acids from drugs like cocaine can wear away the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth decay and other issues. If your teeth are rotting and your mouth is constantly dry, your breath is not going to be so fresh.
One of the side effects of any stimulant such as cocaine is Bruxism, more commonly known as tooth grinding.
Clenching and grinding your teeth on a consistent basis weaken your teeth and causes them to loosen and/or break. This is an unconscious reflex and is not easily preventable. Most addicts are completely unaware of the damage until it is too late. This can also lead to bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and bone infections.
One of the many other oral conditions cocaine can cause is periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease.
This is a condition that causes damage to soft tissue and wears away at the bones that support your teeth. A common way of ingesting cocaine is rubbing it directly on the gums.
This allows the drug to enter the bloodstream much quicker. This can cause retraction of the gums, which also weakens your teeth. Rubbing cocaine directly on your gums can also lead to gingival lesions, which develop in between the teeth and are extremely painful.
When you are a heavy drug user, you are typically not spending a lot of time focusing on your oral hygiene. The only thing that matters at all is doing the drug and getting more of the drug.
We can show people photos of disgusting teeth all we want, but it’s hard to understand what can lead someone to get to that point. The pull of addiction makes you completely avoid all aspects of your health.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Treating cocaine addiction is very difficult. Unlike opiates, there are no current medications approved by the FDA to help treat cocaine addiction.
Research is ongoing, but at the moment behavioral therapy and counseling seem to have the most success. Before entering rehab for cocaine, one must go through detox to flush the drug out of their body. There is no set timetable for detoxing from cocaine.
It usually takes between five to seven days, although some people can take weeks to fully detox. Like with other substances, detox can be quite uncomfortable. Patients experience symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and sleep deprivation.
Contingency management is one form of behavioral therapy that has proven effective.
These programs reward patients with incentives for abstaining from using cocaine and other drugs. These rewards typically include dinner coupons, gym memberships and other things that encourage healthy living.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has also proven successful in many studies. This approach encourages users to improve their thinking patterns and not act impulsively. This helps addicts recognize and avoid situations that may be triggering.
Because cocaine prevents the brain from discarding dopamine, it can be one of the hardest drugs to get off of.
Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that induces pleasure. When you get off of cocaine, you are forced to reexamine your behavior and emotional health. Like all other addictions, the type of treatment you choose should be reflective of your personality.
What works for you may not work for someone else, and vice versa.
Cocaine addiction is very complex. I have personally known former addicts who still have dreams about it years later that can be triggering. Recovery from cocaine addiction is an ongoing process.
An amazing recovery program like the one at The Discovery House can help you overcome your addiction. Because it has such a powerful effect on the brain, the chances of relapse are very high even for those who have been clean for extended periods of time.
If you have a cocaine addiction, it’s important to recognize that it is a constant battle.