A dentist is an important part of a healthcare team. Often, they are aware of an issue even before a patient knows something is wrong, simply by conducting a thorough examination of someone’s teeth and gums. Prescription medications and illegal drugs can cause tooth decay, and excessive damage may indicate substance abuse and an addict in the family.
Tooth Decay and Illegal Drugs
Regular users of the following illegal drugs may experience the following types of tooth issues:
• Cocaine turns the saliva in the mouth acidic, causing dry mouth and erosion of tooth enamel
• Crack cocaine damages the gums, nerves in the mouth, and tooth enamel
• Heroin users get cravings for sweet foods, which leads to cavities if they neglect regular dental care
• Ecstasy causes dry mouth and teeth grinding
• Methamphetamine use leads to severe tooth damage, known as “meth mouth.” The drug causes severe dry mouth, which results in extreme tooth decay. Meth users compound the damage by grinding their teeth, neglecting to brush and floss their teeth for long periods of time, and binging on sweet foods and drinks.
Dental Problems and Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs can also cause tooth decay from dry mouth. If you or a loved one is taking medication other than as prescribed by a doctor or which have been prescribed for someone else, the risk of tooth damage is quite high. Chronic drug users are also at risk for plaque buildup on teeth, stained teeth (brown or yellow), eroded enamel, and cracks in the teeth.
Find Help for Dental Problems and Drug Addiction
If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s teeth and think that drug use may have contributed to cavities or other health issues, start by seeing a dentist. Getting professional treatment and receiving information about the risks associated with continuing to use drugs may make an impact. Someone who has experienced tooth decay from drug use needs to seek professional help from a substance abuse treatment program.
Making the choice to enter one of the 90 day rehab programs available means you or your loved one will be able to focus your attention on getting well. Each client gets an individualized treatment program, which may include attending 12 step meetings, individual and group counseling sessions, exercise classes, nutrition courses, group outings, and time for reflection. The treatment process allows each client to learn how to look after him or herself better, including practicing good dental hygiene, in preparation for a sober lifestyle.