Methamphetamine is a strong stimulant that is highly addictive. Users consume meth, commonly known as glass, speed, ice, or crystal, through snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing pills to achieve the sought after feeling of euphoria and intense pleasure. However, methamphetamine can cause severe health consequences such as; permanent brain damage, high blood pressure, anxiety, irregular heartbeats, confusion, violent behavior, and stroke. The most visible side effect of meth is “meth mouth.” Learn about the interactions of meth and your teeth and how Las Vegas Recovery Center offers programs that help overcome meth addiction.
Meth and Your Teeth
After a few sessions of smoking meth, your teeth begin to acquire a dark yellow stain. The discoloration progresses with continued use, and the protective tooth enamel begins to chip away or flake. With the absence of the protective enamel, the teeth are exposed to the harsh chemical traces of meth. Though not a medical diagnosis, meth mouth is characterized by gum disease and severe tooth decay, which physically presents as:
- Falling apart of the teeth
How Meth Causes Oral Damage?
The side effects of meth result from a combination of physiological and psychological factors such as poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and the acidic nature of meth. Meth damages teeth in several ways:
- Poor diet: While under the influence, meth users often miss meals and will ignore proper nutrition. Additionally, while going through withdrawal before their next dose, users crave sugary and carbonated drinks, bad for the teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene: A meth-induced high could last up to 12 hours during which users barely practice oral hygiene, such as flossing or brushing, which leaves the sugary substances and meth on the teeth for long periods.
- Xerostomia: This is the development of dry mouth, which takes away the protective layer of saliva around the teeth, which worsens the interaction of meth and your teeth
- Bruxism: Meth usage can lead to users developing bruxism, which is a condition that has people grind and clench their teeth
- Drug additives: The meth drug also contains acidic contents that erode the protective enamel and erode the teeth. Chemicals found in meth include lantern fluid, drain cleaner, antifreeze, and battery acid unsuitable for human consumption.
- Gum Disease, Gingivitis, and Periodontitis
In addition to physical damage, tooth damage caused by meth use also affects a person’s emotional and mental health. People who experience meth mouth are often self-conscious of their appearance and suffer from low self-esteem, leading to increased meth use.
Treatment Options of Meth Mouth
It is difficult to prevent dental decay while using meth, and in most cases, the effects are irreversible. However, consistent dental hygiene slows down the prevalence of dental damage. There isn’t much a dentist can do for a meth user with meth mouth, and often successful treatment requires tooth removal. Ultimately, the best course of treatment for oral diseases brought upon by meth use is to treat the addiction at a substance abuse treatment center. This is a long process that includes supervised medical detox, consistent addiction therapy, and social support, which helps the users avoid relapses. Additionally, dentists will choose to educate you and your support system on the interactions of meth and your teeth and the other side effects of meth.
Addiction Treatment at Las Vegas Recovery Center
Meth users experience alarmingly high rates of periodontal and dental diseases. These users develop a dose-response relationship, which translates to higher dental disease rates in users that consume higher doses. The interaction of meth and your teeth is even worse with cigarette smokers. At Las Vegas Recovery Center, we offer various addiction therapy programs. If you or your loved one struggles with meth addiction, contact Las Vegas Recovery Center at 844.332.2076 to begin your recovery journey.