Methamphetamine can wreak havoc on the health of the entire body. Meth mouth is the collection of problems meth causes specifically for oral health. Keep reading to learn more about how meth use produces these problems.
Tooth decay is one of the most common and visible signs of meth mouth. Cavities can be so severe in meth users that teeth blacken or even crumble. Meth causes tooth decay by:
- Drying out the mouth: This causes decay because saliva is the body’s natural defense against it.
- Creating sugar cravings: Because meth users take in more sugar, plaque has more of it to use in the production of harmful acids.
- Causing Poor Oral Hygiene Habits: Meth users often do not brush and floss their teeth as regularly as they are supposed to because a meth high can last for a long time, sometimes up to 12 hours.
Feelings of anxiety often develop in meth users, which can cause them to clench or grind their teeth. This action is called bruxism, and when it is done constantly then teeth can wear or crack (especially if they are weak from decay).
Gum disease occurs when the gums become infected, which can result in tooth loss and tissue destruction. Meth causes blood vessels to shrink, and this results in a reduced blood flow that makes oral tissues more vulnerable to infection and deterioration.