A worrying number of at least 2.6 million people addicted to Meth have been reported in the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use & Health. As addiction to this dangerous drug worsens, so is the development of meth mouth in most people.
Transcend Recovery Community is here to find out more about meth mouth, its warning signs, and its impact on our bodies. Read on to find out more.
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What is Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is characterized as one of the adverse effects of methamphetamine abuse affecting oral health. It comprises severe dental damage, one where continuous meth use will weaken teeth in the long run.
In an examination of the mouths of 571 methamphetamine users, there has been a breakdown of the following:
- 96% of users had cavities
- 31% had more than six missing teeth
- 58% had untreated tooth decay
According to experts, there are three stages of meth mouth. They are known to be the following:
First stage - development of bad breath & cavities
Second stage - the appearance of lip sores, gum disease
Final stage - continuous teeth decay resulting in the teeth falling out.
In the latter stage of worsening dental health, a medical professional, badly affected teeth that haven't fallen out are often needed to be pulled out by a dentist, as recommended by the American Dental Association.
What Causes Meth Mouth?
Many factors may cause the development of meth mouth in meth users. Long-term methamphetamine use will worsen dental health conditions.
It may also cause irreparable damage from excessive crystal meth addiction which may lead to the development of distress and anxiety in meth users. Here are some of the things that may cause meth mouth longer-term:
- Methamphetamine is acidic
- One of the symptoms of meth use is dry mouth, lessening saliva protecting your teeth.
- More meth or continuous meth use induces cravings for sugary drinks
- Meth use causes teeth grinding
- Addiction eventually causes someone to neglect personal hygiene, including their dental health/oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene further develops into extensive tooth decay, gum disease, and receding gum line.
People who are at higher risk of developing massive teeth and gum damage are the following:
- People older than 30
- Cigarette smokers
Signs of Meth Mouth
The usual perceived signs or symptoms of meth mouth include the following:
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Loose teeth/cracked teeth/missing teeth
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Black and rotting teeth
- Bad breath
- Gum disease (periodontitis and gingivitis)
People suffering from meth mouth should get proper dental care since in many cases, untreated cavities and untreated tooth decay and gum disease may lead to worse symptoms and further damage.
Can a Dentist Tell if You Do Drugs?
Yes, this is possible since dentists are trained to diagnose the stages of dental health. They can usually tell the difference between healthy teeth and gums by just examining the mouth of a user.
Swollen gums and tooth decay are immediately associated with poor oral hygiene. Therefore, they can make further inquiries regarding a person's general oral health practices and medical history, allowing them to make a diagnosis about the existing condition of their mouth.
Do Drugs Affect Your Mouth?
Certain drugs have an immediate effect on an individual's oral health. Some may be minimal, but others may be severely impacted, especially when a person has undergone severe drug addiction.
Some of the most common oral symptoms from drug abuse/addiction include the following mentioned earlier. In some cases, smoke from marijuana is a known carcinogen and may cause mouth cancer. Additionally, stomach acid that ends up in the mouth due to vomiting or heartburn from drug abuse may lead to erosion of the enamel, giving way to severe tooth decay and gum disease.
Can Drugs Turn Teeth Black?
Many substances and chemicals can turn your teeth black. For instance, consuming too much sugar results in the build-up of cavities.
Drug addiction, particularly in methamphetamine users, may also induce tooth decay and gum problems. As these problems develop, your oral health will take a toll. The blackening of your teeth is primarily caused by massive tooth decay. It's dangerous as long periods of poor oral health may lead to infections.
People may need to undergo full mouth rehabilitation as part of their treatment options. If left untreated, this may cause severe anxiety and depression, and even weight loss due to poor dietary habits.
What is Meth Addiction?
It happens when a person has become dependent on methamphetamine use, regardless of its form (ingested, smoked, swallowed, or ingested). People addicted to meth reportedly seek it for its short-term, feel-good effects. Some of them include the following:
- Boosted energy and attention
- Lesser fatigue
- Euphoria (happiness and excitement)
Some of its side effects are:
- Less appetite
When left untreated, your health may suffer, and feel things like:
- Weight loss
- Serious dental problems.
As people undergo meth addiction treatment, some of them may need to live in a segregated living space, such as a gender-specific house (women's sober living), to give individuals a safe space while focusing on recovery. They may find a halfway house that fits their needs and demands.
A sober coach, meanwhile, helps an individual by checking on their progress as well as helping them transition to their new life and into society. Individuals may then avoid relapse in the long run.
Can Transcend Recovery Community assist with Substance Abuse?
Transcend Recovery Community can assist anyone who has a problem with substance abuse. As they partner with various affiliate mental health programs, they can provide supportive care and assistance to anyone planning to take that step toward progress and sobriety.
While it is not classified as one of the treatment centers, it has a sober living program that lets recovering individuals live in a nurturing and healing environment.
You can contact us to find out how to get help with your substance abuse. Our recovery counselors are waiting for you to take that call.