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The Effects of Drug Abuse on Your Teeth

Drug abuse begins impacting your body after just a short period of time.   While each drug has a different impact on the body, including the teeth, there are two types of drugs in particular that cause quick and significant damage to your mouth and teeth.

The use of two highly addictive substances, cocaine and methamphetamine, can lead to the type of drug abuse side effects that dentists often identify and subsequently refer to as meth-mouth or cocaine teeth/canines. Abusing either of these two substances can turn an otherwise healthy mouth into a cavity of disastrous proportions.

The Dangers of Drug Abuse on Your Teeth

Whether snorting cocaine in its powder form or smoking the substance, the chemicals in cocaine can wreak havoc on the system, and it all starts inside the mouth. A healthy human body needs a number of nutrients to run efficiently; ingesting powder cocaine on a daily basis will strip the body of its essentials, such as vitamin C and calcium.

Cocaine can also suppress the appetite. Because healthy teeth and gums thrive on these two vitamins and minerals, which are stripped by the cocaine and then not replaced because the individual has no appetite, the impact of drug abuse on the mouth is twofold.

Gingivitis is likely to appear as the first condition in a series of oral problems, such as bone loss and tooth decay. Tooth loss is also a common occurrence, and it only takes a few months of use to reach the point where teeth are so badly damaged that they fall out or need to be removed.

Abscesses on the gums can also form a primary indicator of deeper infection. Using crack cocaine produces the same impact, only faster.  According to some sources, the symptoms can appear in as little as a month.

teethThe negative effects of smoking methamphetamine bear the same consequences in your mouth as cocaine addiction and other drug abuse, yet with an extra added twist.

Unlike cocaine, meth is composed of numerous chemicals that not only affect dopamine secretion; these chemicals are also capable of stripping tooth enamel, or the tooth’s protective layer, in a matter of weeks. Methamphetamine addiction can cause those who use it to stay awake for days at a time without eating, which augments the process of tooth decay.

Like cocaine, methamphetamine is an appetite suppressor, starving the body in more ways than one, both in substance and sustenance. With this particular type of drug use, taking vitamin C and calcium pills alone will provide little or no help as the body needs a balanced diet in order for these supplements to be absorbed and work efficiently.

Addiction Treatment Can Save Your Teeth

Drug abuse and addiction are treatable and many people live healthy sober lives after rehab.  The human body begins to heal the moment the substance abuse stops, so it is never too late to start a sober lifestyle. Many dentists can help the body repair the damage, reducing long-term risk for gum disease and tooth loss.

If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse, dependency or addiction, please call us today at 1-877-771-1750.  Our counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of your drug abuse.

Drug abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full-service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse issues.

Photo Credit: Flickr user carlwwycoff via a creative commons license.

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