One of the obvious side effects of methamphetamine use is meth mouth. Meth mouth is defined simply as the tooth decay and gum disease as a result of repeated meth use.
The damage to the teeth is the result of not only the acidity of the drug, but also involuntary teeth grinding and overall poor oral hygiene. By the time the user seeks treatment, the teeth are often too damaged or broken to be repaired and have to be removed.
What is Meth Mouth?
What causes meth mouth? Methamphetamine can be ingested in a number of ways, but it is most commonly smoked. Meth mouth is usually the most obvious sign of meth abuse. Interestingly enough, users of meth have poor diets and often seek out sugary sodas and other sweets.
This is referred to as ‘buzzing’. The high from meth lasts nearly twelve hours and creates sugar cravings. Sugary substances such as soda and candy wear away at the enamel on your teeth and quickly advances tooth decay.
Tooth grinding quickly does an incredible amount of damage to the teeth.
This is an involuntary reaction and is very difficult to avoid when using methamphetamine. Keep in mind, household chemicals such as drain cleaner, antifreeze, and battery acid are used in the creation of meth. Simply put, these are not things you should be putting in your mouth.
Dry mouth is also a very common side effect of meth use. Chronic dry mouth prevents the body from producing saliva, which acts as a natural cleansing agent for our teeth. The presence of oral bacteria is increased when you are not producing enough saliva.
The combination of dry mouth and tooth grinding is a recipe for disaster and will quickly destroy your teeth completely.
Meth and Bad Breath
It’s not hard to fathom why a lot of drug addicts have bad breath. If your teeth are rotting out of your head and your mouth is dry all the time, your breath is going to rank.
Drug addicts do not typically spend a lot of time on their oral hygiene or their personal hygiene either. Because of this, daily care and upkeep take a backseat to the drugs. Nothing matters except the drug itself.
When you neglect your hygiene, it can rapidly lead to a number of issues.
Once the damage is done, it’s pretty difficult to do away with the problem through breath fresheners or mouthwash. Meth breath is beyond bad breath. It’s unmistakably bad.
Many addicts are also cigarette smokers, so the combination does a lot of damage very quickly. Again, many addicts don’t give any thought to their hygiene. Because drugs rewire our brains and change the way we think, addicts are not often concerned with their appearance after a while.
It quickly becomes an afterthought.
You are four times likely to have cavities and two times likely to have decayed or missing teeth if you are a meth user.
When you regularly use meth, you are basically allowing the complete destruction of your mouth. Other symptoms of meth mouth include bleeding gums, and plaque buildup. Meth can also cause your gums to recede and leave your teeth defenseless.
How To Prevent Meth Mouth
We’ve learned now about the horrors of meth mouth. If the above did not scare you away from using meth, there isn’t much more that can. That also speaks to the power of the drug. As I write this, I can literally feel my teeth clenching up.
There is nothing quite like tooth pain. It’s all consuming. The fact that so many people continue to regularly abuse meth while their teeth are falling out tells you all you need to know about the dangers of this drug.
Is meth mouth treatable? In some ways, yes. In a lot of cases, a complete restoration of the teeth is needed.
This can be extremely expensive and take a very long time. The treatment of meth mouth depends on the extent of damage already done. Having multiple rotten teeth and damaged gums oftentimes cannot be fixed. Our teeth do not grow back in adulthood, so for many people artificial teeth are the only option.
If addressed early enough, there is a chance your teeth and gums can be restored. If you have been abusing meth long term, there aren’t a whole lot of options other than false teeth. The solution to fixing meth mouth is to quit using meth, which is not exactly simple.
The goal is to reverse the effects of the drug through increasing saliva production and putting a greater effort into your oral hygiene.
Simply put, you aren’t going to fix your mouth until you face your addiction. Meth can be a very difficult drug to get off of, as it completely rewires your brain. If you are serious enough about it, sobriety can be achieved no matter where you’re in your addiction.
The damage to your mouth is only something that can be addressed after you face the problem head on.