Though prescription methamphetamine is used to treat some conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy, the illicit, Schedule II version of the drug is used recreationally and can have dangerous health effects
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, meaning it affects your central nervous system (CNS). This can cause some short-term effects as well as long-term harm to the body.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), meth can have many severe consequences on your oral health. These effects are commonly known as meth mouth.
There are a number of methods of use for methamphetamine, many of which can lead to dental problems.
How Methamphetamine Use Affects The Mouth
Methamphetamine abuse can impact the health of your mouth in a multitude of ways. This can lead to permanent damage to your teeth and other oral structures.
Perhaps the most well-known effect of meth use on your mouth is its potential to cause tooth decay.
Methamphetamine is quite acidic which can erode the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. This results in cracked, black, rotting teeth.
If this decay is not treated and becomes too severe, it can lead to tooth loss.
Another serious side effect of methamphetamine use is gum disease or periodontal disease.
Gum disease is likely with meth abuse, because it reduces blood flow which can cause tissues to shrink or die, causing the gum line to recede.
Unfortunately, gum disease can also make you more susceptible to other health risks such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
A common effect that you may notice even with short-term meth use is xerostomia or dry mouth. Methamphetamine use can cause an unusually dry mouth, as it dries out the salivary glands.
Dry mouth can also contribute to tooth decay, since there is less saliva to protect your teeth from acids.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Many people who abuse meth also develop bruxism or extreme teeth grinding. This is because of meth’s stimulant effects, which can cause erratic or repetitive movements.
Grinding your teeth can contribute to tooth damage and decay over time if left untreated.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Another effect you may not associate with meth use is poor oral hygiene. Often, when people use methamphetamine, they do not have proper dental hygiene for days at a time.
When you neglect dental care such as brushing and flossing your teeth, they become more susceptible to damage, infection, and decay.
On top of this, many people consume sugary foods and drinks when they are high on meth, which can only exacerbate this issue.
Lastly, methamphetamine use can cause bad breath. This is primarily due to the poor oral hygiene that often comes from the use of this drug but can also be worsened by dry mouth.
Dental Treatments For Meth Mouth
Though the dental effects of meth use can be permanent in some cases, there are treatments available to stop meth mouth from progressing further.
Even issues like tooth loss can be treated with professional dentistry.
The easiest way to stop additional damage from meth use is to instill proper oral hygiene habits.
This means brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, and using other treatments like mouthwash as needed. People with a meth addiction tend to neglect their oral health care.
Dentures For Dental Disease
If you’re missing teeth due to methamphetamine abuse, one option is to get dentures. This can allow you to feel more confident about your teeth.
If you’re missing a single tooth, you can opt for a crown or fake tooth. However, if you’re missing several teeth, dentures may be a better option for you.
Lastly, in order to ensure that your oral health continues to thrive, it is vital to detox from methamphetamine.
Once you stop using the drug, your mouth and teeth can continue to heal and remain healthy.
Other Treatment Options For Meth Addiction
Detoxification from meth addiction can be extremely challenging and is only the first step to recovery. Seeking inpatient meth treatment from a healthcare professional is the best plan of action.
If you’re located on the East Coast, Bedrock Recovery Center is a quality treatment facility for beginning your substance use recovery journey.
We treat all kinds of substance abuse and tailor our treatment plan to fit each individual’s needs.
Addiction treatment options can include detoxification support, medication-assisted treatment to help with cravings, support groups, recovery education, and therapy to support your mental health.
Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today if you or your loved one are ready to recover from a meth drug addiction.
- American Dental Association (ADA) https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/methamphetamine
- Maine Department of Health and Human Services https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/odh/documents/meth-mouth.pdf
- National Institute on Drug Abuse https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/overview