Using illegal street drugs isn’t only harmful to your body and your mental health, it also damages your teeth and mouth. Using drugs such as cocaine and heroin, and even legal drugs such as cannabis can lead to oral health problems. Here’s how some common street drugs can harm your mouth.
Methamphetamines Methamphetamine, also called meth or crystal meth, is highly addictive and probably the most destructive drug for your mouth. You may have seen meth addicts with yellow or grey teeth and decaying gums often referred to as “meth-mouth.” Meth is highly acidic so using it quickly softens and weakens tooth enamel, the outer protective layer of your teeth. This leads to tooth decay, cavities and tooth loss if left unchecked. Meth also increases anxiety in users, which leads to jaw clenching and teeth grinding which can damage your teeth. Moreover, meth and other street drugs cause dry mouth and a lack of saliva. Saliva is a natural way for your mouth to fight bacteria growth and also delivers minerals to repair weak enamel. Heroin Heroin is an opiate you inject into your veins. Using heroin leads to oral health problems similar to what meth users experience; dry mouth, grinding teeth, and accelerated tooth and gum decay. Heroin is also a pain killer so users are often oblivious to the pain caused by their rotting teeth and do nothing about it. Cocaine and crack Snorting cocaine can damage the tissue between the roof of your mouth and your nose. Cocaine is also highly acidic and if you smoke it (crack), ingest powdered cocaine or rub it on your gums, the drug’s acids will coat your teeth and wear out your enamel. Ecstasy (MDMA) “E” or “Molly”, as it’s known on the street, is a hallucinogen. Using it leads to extreme cases of dry mouth and it can last several days after use, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Cannabis Cannabis may be legal, but it’s still harmful. Smoking cannabis increases your chances of getting oral cancer. It also decreases the blood flow in your mouth which increases your risk of gum disease. Street drug users also brush their teeth and floss less often. They’re also less likely to visit a dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Drug users are also more inclined to binge on foods high in sugar and starch, which contributes to tooth decay.
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At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, a healthy mouth for all our patients is our number one priority. We’re happy to address any concerns about your oral health, in a confidential setting, and we can develop an individual treatment plan based on your lifestyle. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.