Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant that impacts the central nervous system.
Even short-term meth abuse can result in numerous health problems, including problems with dental health, otherwise known as meth mouth. As the name suggests, meth mouth is a methamphetamine-induced condition that is characterized by severe tooth decay and gum disease. Cavities, tooth loss, and gum infections are some of the most typical side effects of this condition.
Without a meth detox, meth users are at high risk of losing all of their teeth and experiencing health repercussions.
What Causes Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is caused by long-term meth use. The high that users experience can last for up to 12 hours at a time. While high, most meth users crave high calorie and sugary drinks. Generally, the effects of substance abuse usually include lack of hygiene, which means meth users aren’t as likely to brush their teeth. Sugar breaks down the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities and other issues related to dental hygiene. Not only is sugar a problem, but meth users may also grind or clench their teeth while high. Users who suffer from meth-induced psychosis may also grind and clench their teeth.
Signs of Meth Mouth
Because meth mouth causes such a severe deterioration of the teeth and gums, its warning signs are usually noticeable; however, if you aren’t aware of the individual’s drug problem, then you may not realize these symptoms are related to methamphetamine abuse.
The signs and symptoms of meth mouthmay include:
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Excessive teeth grinding or clenching
- Rotting teeth
- Blackened teeth
- Discolored gums
- Swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Cracked teeth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Micro-cavities (carious lesions)
- Abscesses in the mouth
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Blackened teeth
- Gum disease
- Abscesses inside the mouth
- Cracked teeth
Without professional help, the individual’s addiction and symptoms may worsen. At Banyan Palm Springs, we offer residential addiction treatment that provides patients with a safe environment where they can recover from their addiction under medical supervision.
The Effects of Long-Term Meth Use on Oral Health
A person who has been abusing methamphetamine for a long period of time will most likely experience a severe problem with their dental hygiene. It’s not just about the direct effects of meth on teeth and gums, it’s also about the cravings it produces. While high, users tend to crave foods and drinks that are jam-packed with sugar. Because they tend to neglect to brush their teeth, this sugar just sits on their teeth, slowly deteriorating them. Eventually, this breaks down the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities. Users will then neglect to go to the dentist, causing the cavities to worsen and result in tooth decay.
The most common effects of meth use on dental hygiene include:
More often than not, individuals who experience meth mouth have most of their teeth removed because they can’t be salvaged. Dentures are then required, which may be expensive depending on whether the individual has insurance.
Meth mouth isn’t just related to dental hygiene, but the rest of the body as well. This deterioration of the teeth and gums caused by long-term meth use can result in infection. These infections can quickly spread through the rest of the body. The gums are quick to absorb things into the bloodstream. Untreated gum infections can quickly worsen and lead to other health concerns.