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Substance Abuse And Its Effects On Teeth

Initially, health experts have looked at the effects of substance abuse on different organs of the body without realizing that teeth problems are as serious. It is actually not surprising that the teeth suffer from damage almost immediately. Drug users are obviously unconcerned about their oral hygiene, which leads to them having serious problems, including, rotting, blackened, stained and even falling teeth.

Illegal Drugs and Oral Problems

Since most drugs, even those prescribed, contain sugar or come in sugarcoated pills or tablets, the risk for tooth decay is increased with frequent use. However, there are other side effects of substance abuse, which vary depending on the kind of drug being abused.

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Ecstasy – more commonly known as “E” or the “love drug," this highly-illegal drug can cause dry mouth, jaw clenching and teeth grinding problems. Many dentists have also observed that ecstasy users suffer from tooth erosion, particularly due to the stomach acids that rise up when the person vomits.

Cocaine – since a lot of users rub cocaine on their gums, an acidic condition in the mouth is created, which ultimately damages the enamel of the teeth. With the enamel eroded, the teeth will now be at risk for decay.

Heroin – abuse of this drug results to user craving for sugary foods and drinks, which directly increase chances of tooth decay.

Methamphetamine – this substance abuse in itself is highly acidic, which corrodes the tooth’s enamel. It is composed of anhydrous ammonia and corrosive substances like muriatic acid, red phosphorus, and lithium. Furthermore, users crave sweet foods for a quick energy boost, which exposes the teeth to serious tooth decay problems. Individuals who are addicted to methamphetamine are known to have a condition called “meth mouth," characterized by decaying teeth and dry mouth.

Alcohol and Teeth Problems

Similar to the effects of illegal drugs on teeth, alcohol drinkers are prone to tooth decay due to the high sugar and alcohol content which increase acid levels in the mouth.

If you notice any of the signs of teeth problems in your loved ones, you should raise the question of drug abuse. You will be surprised at how some chronic drug users do not notice such teeth damage and will not seek medical attention until too late.

Drug abuse and addiction are a condition that can be treated with the right information and know-how. Keep in mind that there is help available and there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Accepting that you have a drug problem is the first step towards long-term rehabilitation.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE


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Marcel Gemme

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people.

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