Methamphetamine use has provoked dentists to coin a new term, for a unique condition that is seen among people who use the drug. The term? “Meth mouth.” Meth mouth isn’t like anything you’ll ever see in your life, unless you’ve seen the smile of someone who uses illegal methamphetamine drugs.
The appearance of Meth Mouth can be described as the most extensive form of tooth decay across every surface area of every tooth. This isn’t a normal decay pattern, and is something that is typically only seen in patients that use methamphetamine. There are a few reasons for this – one, is that the drug itself is very cariogenic, that is, it causes decay-forming bacterial buildup in the mouth when it is used. Very strong acidic levels mean that enamel is eroded at a much faster rate than most other factors. Second, the drug causes people to crave a high amount of sugar when they are on the drug. They drink large amounts of sodas or candy, causing the acidic levels in their mouth to be even more destructive. Last of all, meth causes muscle tension in the jaw and chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth, allowing them to be worn down prematurely. When you put all of these things together, you have a recipe for destruction.
Thankfully, some people do recover from methamphetamine use. All dental consultations and services are by law, required to be confidential. Dentists can work with recovering patients to help them restore their smiles without the patient needing to feel self-conscious or worried about their appearance. If you or someone you love has had damage to their smile caused by drug use, it’s time to call your dentist for a comprehensive dental exam before it’s too late.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental
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