Tooth decay, jaw clenching, gum disease – an addiction to drugs can be devastating to your dental health. One study showed that those with substance use disorders are less likely to receive dental care than the general population. What’s more, certain drugs are linked to a host of oral issues. Methamphetamine, for instance, causes “meth mouth,” which is characterized by severe tooth decay and gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, an examination of the mouths of 571 methamphetamine users showed:
- 96% had cavities
- 58% had untreated tooth decay
- 31% had six or more missing teeth
Speed or ecstasy as well as cocaine users often suffer dry mouth, severe tooth decay, jaw-clenching or grinding of the teeth while opioid abuse has been linked to sugar cravings that result in tooth decay.
Why Oral Health Matters
A healthy smile can certainly do wonders for your self-esteem, but it can also help prevent conditions caused by the chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood that accompany bad teeth, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Luckily, good oral hygiene can help. This includes:
- Brushing at least two times per day – in the morning and before bedtime
- Flossing or cleaning between the teeth at least once a day with ‘interdental’ brushes
- Limiting sugary foods and drinks
- Scheduling regular dental check-ups (at least twice per year)
Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
Of course, getting help for your addiction is the best thing you can do for your overall health. At NorthStar, we treat many addictions, including heroin, prescription drug, meth and cocaine, and provide clients with a full continuum of care. To learn more, call today: 303-625-6335.