Methamphetamine use can cause extremely advanced forms of tooth decay, so much so that it needed its own name: “meth mouth.” Because meth mouth is so severe, it is typically impossible to restore these teeth back to normal function. The only option left is to extract all remaining broken and decayed teeth, and replace them with dentures or dental implants.
Why is Meth Mouth so aggressive?
Meth users typically have a combination of factors that cause the drug use to amplify tooth decay.
Sugar cravings. When methamphetamine is taken, a severe craving for sugar develops. Most of the time the meth user then binges on soda or candy during a 12 hour period. The result is an extensive amount of time that acid is exposed to the teeth, increasing the rate of enamel demineralization, bacteria and decay.
Dry mouth. Xerostomia is a side effect of meth use. When saliva glands shut down, the mouth becomes dry and cannot naturally cleanse itself. Acid and bacteria in the mouth are more aggressive in people with dry mouth.
Acid content of Meth. The acidic levels of meth are enough to damage teeth on their own. Some ingredients of meth include dangerous substances like battery acid and household cleaners.
Excess wear of teeth. Most meth users will have increased tension in their jaws, resulting in aggressive clenching or grinding of the teeth. Combined with weakened tooth enamel, this grinding can cause excess wear to the teeth, breaking them or wearing them flat.
Meth mouth becomes aggressive very easily. Most of the time treatment does not occur until the patient is off of meth, due to negligence. Typically meth users do not practice adequate oral hygiene, further amplifying the destruction that the dangerous drug has on their teeth.
Posted on behalf of Dan Myers
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