The Impact Illegal Drugs Can Have on Your Teeth
It is estimated that $60 billion is spent every year by drug users. With an astronomical figure like that, imagine how families have been torn apart, lives ruined, and communities damaged.
Surprisingly, there isn’t too much concern for ruining one’s health through illegal drugs and prescription pills. The public’s focus is to encourage the user to get help, go to rehab, and stop using. That is all well and good; however, let’s have a look at one part of the human body that is hardly mentioned when health is discussed: teeth.
Abuse of prescription drugs and abuse of illegal drugs are the cause of another large astronomical figure, this one for dental decay. The U.S. government has estimated that at least 40 percent of people take one medication that is harmful to teeth.
Illegal Drugs and Dental Health
Following is a list of illegal drugs and the conditions that may destroy oral health due to their use and abuse:
• Cannabis – Dry mouth, gum disease, oral cancer.
• Cocaine – Ulcers on gums and bones underneath from rubbing coke on them, erodes tooth enamel, exposes tooth to decay-causing bacteria.
• Ecstasy – Grinding teeth, jaw clenching, and dry mouth.
• Heroin – Increases tooth decay from user’s craving of sweets. Other conditions are grinding teeth, dry mouth
• Methamphetamine – Known as meth mouth. It is severe, irreversible tooth decay or teeth that are literally falling out in a short period of time. Meth’s high acidity attacks tooth enamel. Other conditions are grinding teeth and dry mouth.
According to a company called Dental, following is what a meth mouth looks like: “little black stubs, misshaped gums, exposed root, etc.” When decaying teeth cannot be saved, they are pulled. Dentures are the next option. They are far less expensive than permanent teeth.
According to the University of Kentucky, “dentists estimate that restoring one’s dental health to individuals with meth mouth will cost five thousand dollars.”
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drug Abuse
It is not only abuse of illegal drugs that are ruining teeth. Over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrups, aspirins, asthma medications, etc., and prescription drugs are often very dangerous to the mouth when abused.
The more sugar in one of the pharmacy drugs, the worse the tooth decay. As mentioned above, some drugs cause cravings for sugar, thereby being indirectly responsible for the tooth decay.
Dental decay is a very serious issue for drug users. It is easy to tell the difference between someone experiencing tooth decay and someone with teeth eroding away. The latter is usually a drug abuser, especially if the person is young.
The chances for teeth erosion and loss are high among drug abusers, especially if they do not maintain their dental health. For example, brushing, seeing a dentist, etc. Perhaps with more media exposure by dental office marketing to this matter through dental direct mail campaigns, someone may save their teeth and their oral health.
About the Author
Lyndsi Decker is a freelance writer that often blogs about family and health related matters. When not blogging she enjoys the outdoors with her husband and two kids.