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How Alcohol and Other Dangerous Drugs Can Affect Your Teeth

Posted on 11/10/2015 by Nic Grasvik
A woman drinking a large glass of wine.Drug and alcohol addiction can devastate your entire body, and in many cases, the teeth are one of the first giveaways that can let your dentist or physician know that you have a substance abuse problem. Certain drugs are known to cause serious gum and teeth health issues, and when combined with poor oral hygiene, addicts can suffer from severe dental problems.

By better understanding the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on your teeth, hopefully you will have one more reason to stay away from abusing these dangerous substances.

Alcohol and Your Oral Health

Alcohol can be extremely detrimental to your oral health, as it can contribute to tooth decay. Most alcoholic beverages will contain high sugar levels, and drinking these beverages frequently will weaken the enamel.

When someone is an alcoholic, they will likely suffer from severe gum and tooth problems, and decay and enamel damage can even result from binge drinking. If you tend to vomit after a long night of drinking, you may also experience acid erosion, and because you will likely pass out before brushing your teeth, these acids and sugars will stay on your teeth for many hours before they are removed.

Heroin and Your Oral Health

Chronic and long-term heroin users often experience problems with the teeth, including bad teeth and gums and missing teeth. Teeth can even go as far as completely falling apart of even snapping off. For the most part, these problems result from addicts simply not caring about their dental health, failing to complete a good oral hygiene routine, and neglecting dental checkups.

Additionally, heroin causes users to crave sweet beverages and foods, and this can further result in severe decay, especially when addicts fail to brush their teeth properly following consuming one of these products.

Methamphetamines and Your Oral Health

The term "meth mouth" is used for a reason: meth users tend to have extremely rotten, broken, and discolored teeth. This is a result of extreme tooth decay. Meth is known to decrease saliva production, leading an addict to experience an extremely dry mouth that will allow acids to eat away at the enamel of the teeth. The corrosive chemicals found in meth can further result in decay when they coat the teeth, and since many meth users grind their teeth obsessively while on a binge, further damage may result.

Cocaine and Your Oral Health

Stimulants like cocaine are also well known for causing people to clench and grind their teeth. Unfortunately, this can result in a serious habit that can cause cracking of the teeth along with headaches and neck pain. Excessive clenching and grinding could cause damage to the gums and tooth roots, and in the future, these issues may require root canals in order to correct the problem. In other cases, excessive grinding could result in tooth loss, the need for dental implants, or even orthodontic treatment.

Similar to meth users, people who abuse cocaine or other stimulants like amphetamines and ecstasy will also experience dry mouth. Many will turn toward soda and other sweetened beverages in order to cope, and alcohol is often used in conjunction with these stimulants. The combination of these substances can cause serious levels of decay that will require extensive work from your dentist in order to repair.

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, the first thing that you should do is pursue treatment to overcome your addiction.

After this battle is under control, please contact us to set up an appointment. We can help to repair any damage that has already been done while making recommendations to improve your oral health in the future.


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