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Christine Hedblom, RDH, BSDH
If You Neglect Your Teeth, They Will Leave You
Michael King DDS (Mira Dental Care)

If You Neglect Your Teeth, They Will Leave You

Have you ever heard the term “meth mouth”? Those who are addicted to methamphetamines, especially over a long period of time, tend to have many rotten teeth.

We all have heard the endless reminder to refrain from eating lots of candy and drinking sugary soft drinks because of their harmful effects on our teeth. Likewise, some people who abuse drugs suffer from rampant tooth decay.

“Meth mouth” is by no means a new phenomenon, but has been on the rise in the last few years. One can easily Google images of what methamphetamine can do to teeth and find what little is left of the remaining teeth small rectangular darkened teeth surrounded by uneven, blotchy gums.

Drug use can be dangerous for a person's physical state, mental state and dental health. A few common symptoms associated with the effects of drug abuse on teeth are periodontal disease, tooth decay, ulcers in the mouth, stained and broken teeth. The repeated abuse of not only prescription but also illegal drugs has a direct link to tooth decay. Both heroin and methamphetamines can cause a severe sugar craving, along with dry mouth, expediting the formation of cavities.

Saliva is composed of many enzymes that fight off decay-causing bacteria left behind from any food or drink we consume. When the mouth is dry, there is less protective saliva flowing throughout. This eliminates the protective barrier that surrounds the teeth.

Any drug that has an acidic nature can also be extremely detrimental to tooth enamel. Other drugs such as speed and ecstasy can cause nervous tendencies, which creates more unwanted dental problems such as jaw clenching, grinding or tooth abrasion.

If you haven't heard of “meth mouth”, how about “green stain”? This is an actual greenish-brown colored stain found on the outside of the enamel that comes from marijuana use. This can be surprising for teenagers who appear shocked when their hygienist or dentist asks them if they've smoked weed recently.

Smoking can also increase one's risk for periodontal disease and tooth loss, which can also be detrimental to one's overall health. Keeping a healthy mind, body and mouth will prove to be beneficial in many areas throughout life.

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