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What is Meth Mouth and How Does it Affect Your Health?

A woman getting her teeth checked and cleaned by a dental assistant.

Teeth are maybe some of the most important parts of the human body. After all, they allow us to chew our food into smaller pieces that can then be easily digested. And besides function, teeth help make us look good. Healthy teeth increase how attractive and welcoming we’re considered by others, which affects our personal self-esteem and confidence.

But in order to protect our teeth and keep them healthy, we have to take care of them. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing, using mouth wash and attending regular dental check-ups. This also includes avoiding substances like methamphetamine that can threaten the health and functionality of your teeth due to meth mouth.

What is Meth Mouth?

Put simply, meth mouth is the tooth decay and poor dental hygiene that occurs with someone who has abused meth. Dentists everywhere view meth mouth as a “worst nightmare” scenario because of the acidic tooth decay and additional dental changes that leave your teeth and mouth in such an unhealthy and dangerous state.

Using meth once may not have a significant effect on your teeth. But as you increase your abuse of meth, your mouth takes more of a beating. How quickly the effects of meth mouth take hold depends on multiple factors, including the health of your teeth before you started using.

How Does Meth Mouth Affect Your Teeth?

Direct Impacts of Meth Mouth

The first signs of meth mouth will include cavities that require fillings and crowns, as well as, swollen gums. Besides the substance itself, meth triggers cravings for sugary foods and drinks that are also bad for your teeth and overall health.

Over time though, meth abuse can lead to significant tooth decay and the need for dentures and dental implants. This tooth decay is, in part, because of the acidic nature of meth. Meth is also known to decrease the amount of saliva your mouth has, and saliva is needed to prevent acids from eating away at your tooth enamel.

Indirect Effects of Meth Mouth

Meth also affects your teeth in indirect ways because of how it impacts your mind and the rest of your body. For example, meth is known to cause paranoia and anxiety that can lead to jaw grinding and clenched teeth. Both actions are unhealthy for your mouth overall and aid in the decay of your teeth.

Meth addiction also suppresses your appetite. After all, a substance as addictive as meth can leave you prioritizing the drug over all else, including eating foods that your body and brain need to function properly. Without a healthy diet, you won’t be able to get the nutrients required for healthy teeth and bones.

Methamphetamine Use Can Lead to Unhealthy Behaviors

Along that same notion, it isn’t just nutrition that you’ll be ignoring because of your meth abuse. Those struggling with meth addiction are so focused on maintaining their drug use that they will also ignore the necessary dental care needed to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy.

Whether directly or indirectly, meth mouth can cause dry mouth, gum disease, tooth removal, gingivitis, constant bad breath and even increase your risk for oral cancer.

5 Tips on Preventing Meth Mouth

The best way to avoid meth mouth is to stop using meth completely. Of course, this is easier said than done if you’re struggling with meth addiction. If that is the case, it’s pertinent that you seek addiction treatment immediately. Rehab at a credible and effective treatment center like Footprints Beachside Recovery is the best way to break free from meth abuse and keep meth mouth from getting out of hand.

Besides meth addiction treatment, the following can also help you try to keep your teeth and mouth healthy:

  1. Follow recommended dental hygiene at home, including brushing and flossing twice a day
  2. Get regular teeth cleanings and have your teeth checked by a dentist twice a year
  3. Drink plenty of water to keep your body and mouth hydrated
  4. Chew sugar-free gum to help boost the saliva in your mouth
  5. Talk with your dentist about getting a retainer if you grind your teeth when you sleep

Holistic Treatment for Meth Addiction at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we offer holistic addiction treatment that’s designed to help you find lasting recovery from addiction. After personally struggling with and overcoming addiction, we know that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective. That’s why we take a personalized approach to rehab that tailors your meth addiction treatment to your specific needs and health challenges.

Talk to one of our team members today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you recover from meth addiction.