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Drugs and Teeth: Why Your Mouth Matters

Drugs and Oral Health: Looking at the Impact of Substance Abuse

Bad teeth from drugs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of substance abuse. It’s more important than many people realize, though, because poor dental health can contribute to poor overall health. When there are problems with your teeth, there are generally high bacteria counts and chronic inflammation. The combination can increase the likelihood of experiencing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other conditions.

Of course, most of us care about how we look, too, and our teeth tend to be something people notice right away. The appearance of your teeth can affect your self-confidence, how others view you and how you interact with others. Using drugs and alcohol can cause teeth to decay, discolor or fall out for multiple reasons.

 

What Makes Drugs and Teeth a Bad Combo?

 

Acidity

Enamel is the hard layer that protects the tooth, and acidic substances can erode it. Many drugs fall into this category. In a fact sheet on drugs and teeth, the Victoria Department of Health notes that the list includes alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine. Cocaine is especially problematic when users rub it on their gums. Some drugs cause vomiting, which also damages enamel through acidity.

 

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is a problem because saliva performs many important oral health functions. It neutralizes acids, reduces the number of bacteria, washes away food particles, and helps repair tooth enamel. Substances that can cause dry mouth include methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, heroin and alcohol.

 

Teeth grinding

Not surprisingly, grinding teeth causes them to wear down, loosen or break. Drugs that can cause it include cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine.

 

Malnutrition

Teeth need certain nutrients in order to be healthy, and often people who are malnourished have teeth that show it. Any drug can lead to malnutrition when people begin to choose the drug over food. Your body also uses nutrients to metabolize drugs or alcohol, which can lead to deficiencies and imbalances.

 

Sugar craving

Sugar damages teeth, and since some drugs cause users to crave it, bad teeth from drugs can come indirectly through eating sweet foods. An article published in the Journal of Opioid Management notes that research has shown a link between the use of opioid drugs like prescription painkillers and the amount of sugar that users consume.

 

Lack of care

People dependent on drugs often neglect self-care, including dental care. In an article on drugs and oral health, Science Daily reports that people with substance use disorders have more periodontal disease and tooth decay than others, but they’re less likely to get dental treatment. The article notes that dental care can be complicated by the tolerance to anesthetics and painkillers that some users develop.

 

Healing the Whole Person — Including Your Mouth

Perhaps in the short term, the health of your teeth doesn’t seem like the most compelling argument for you to get the help you need, but it is another good reason to consider taking that step. The longer you use drugs and alcohol, the more impact they’ll have on your dental health. The Right Step Hill Country offers guidance and support as you break free from their grip on you. Why not take the first step to reclaim your life today?  Call us at (844) 767-9965.

23 thoughts on “Drugs and Teeth: Why Your Mouth Matters”

  1. Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I truly thought youd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you can fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

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