A smile is the first impression you see when meeting new people, interviewing for a job, or going on a date. For those whose smile has been affected by long-term drug use, meeting new people or being asked to be in photos can lead to an uncomfortable situation.
While many people tend to focus on the scary health issues that affect the body on the inside due to drug abuse, a lot of people do not understand how drugs affect oral health or the consequences of these problems. Banyan Treatment Centers Boca PR & Communications Director, Allison Rush, wanted to learn more about drugs and oral health, so she talked with Dr. Ari Socher of Renumi Mobile.
Dr. Socher, has worked in the dental field for 12 years, and Renumi Mobile is a mobile dentistry that is dedicated to helping patients in substance abuse rehabilitation treatment centers with their oral health. He knows firsthand how drugs can damage a person’s physical health and appearance. Unfortunately, many drug addicts are hesitant to get help, resulting in severe damage from their long-term drug use.
Signs of long-term drug use on oral health include:
Some drugs are more harmful than others when it comes to oral health. The drugs that damage teeth and tend to negatively impact oral health the most include methamphetamine, MDMA, speed, ecstasy, and crack cocaine. All of these drugs can also cause xerostomia, better known as dry mouth, as well as bruxism, or teeth grinding. Meth, specifically, can be so damaging to oral health that its effects have led to the term meth mouth.
Not only can these drugs cause direct damage to oral health, but also long-term drug use can be accompanied with secondary issues that can negatively impact a drug addict’s teeth, gums, and mouth. Many drugs addicts have poor self-care, a bad diet, and struggle with malnutrition. All of these factors can exacerbate oral health issues even more. Because poor oral health can negatively impact a person’s overall health in various ways and lead to several serious diseases,1 it is important that addicts suffering from these problems get help.
The most important thing drug addicts concerned about their oral health and dental hygiene can do is to stop their drug abuse. At Banyan, we offer several treatment programs from a medical drug detox to outpatient programs to help patients overcome their addictions and move forward. While quitting will help prevent patients from causing more damage to their oral health, separate dental care can help treat the existing issues.
This process can take time and will be different for everyone depending on the effects of their drug addiction on their oral health. To help people with this process Dr. Socher and Renumi Mobile are there. He explains that it is more than helping these people get healthy, “I understand the challenges patients face as I have family members who are also in recovery from substance abuse and alcoholism. Pain and embarrassment could trigger a relapse and I believe that I can help to make the process easier. I want to help them regain their confidence and look good. Confidence and self-esteem are important in recovery. By helping them with their dental issues, it can help them feel better about themselves and stay with the program.”
If you or someone you care about has a substance abuse disorder or mental health problem, get help sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the worse off your oral and overall health may be.