Meth mouth and dental health; if you have meth mouth you should seek treatment asap.
Lack of personal care
One of the main reasons meth users have a serious decline in dental health is from personal neglect while using. And that is the main reason. Because of this, meth mouth doesn't happen to all users.
When someone using meth gets high, they can stay awake for days or even close to a week before they crash. Beyond maintaining sleep health, basic nutritional needs are often forgotten or not met while using.
Simple things like changing cloths, taking a shower, or brushing teeth are forgotten. Time goes fast on speed, a user may think they've attended to these basic hygienic needs, but haven't. When you're an addict, major things are unattended or fall off the priority radar, like kids, pets, work, bills...so it's no surprise personal health care is as well. Drug addicts are not particularly known for stellar hygiene to begin with, meth is no exception.
Developing "meth mouth" can happen quickly.
Meth in and of itself causes many health issues, but combined with neglect, it's a perfect recipe for disaster to the body, especially your teeth!
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Lets face it, a great smile goes a long way, but not when your mouth is decaying from a meth addiction.
People generally associate meth mouth with those who are addicted to methamphetamine. But that has not always been the case, and still isn't the only cause for decaying teeth.
Long before the popularity of using amphetamines, major tooth decay occurred in people who lived under conditions of extreme long lasting stress, poverty, poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, and high sugar intake. All key components to meth mouth.
Methamphetamine inhibits salivary gland activity, without diluting saliva the way your body would when not using this drug, bacteria and food acids produced in your mouth start to dissolve tooth enamel. Tooth enamel, once destroyed cannot and will not come back.
In addition to this, users typically crave fatty, sugary, greasy junk food when coming down from their high, these food items help bacteria eat at your teeth.
I personally know users who state that tooth decay didn't really start until they STOPPED using meth. I know a 35 year old woman with full dentures because of her meth use. A dental expense that is costing tax payers over $4000.00 because she doesn't have insurance. Dental problems are just one on her list, in addition to dentures, she can't hold a job, she surrendered custody of her child, and she has mental health issues. Meth contributed to the wreckage of her health and her life. I don't think the tooth decay started once the drug use was stopped. I think the user finally got clear headed enough to notice the damage they had been doing while using.
Crystal meth is so corrosive when inhaled that the smoke damages everything it touches, including the mucosa linings of the mouth and teeth. Before you know it, you'll be completely toothless and need to get in line for dentures too!
Other drug information
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Signs of use
Tooth decay is interesting because most of the time you won't notice symptoms until something is infected, decaying, or until you have a cavity. Basically the bacteria in your mouth makes acids that eat away the enamel on your tooth. Causing pain, irritation, swelling, and sometimes tooth loss. If you're always high, or drunk, or on any other drug for that matter, pain often goes unnoticed.
Anyone that has had a cavity, or is in standby for a root canal, or even has incoming wisdom teeth knows mouth pain is no laughing matter.
Possible symptoms of tooth decay:
- Swollen gums
- Cracked teeth
- Bad breath
- Serious tooth pain
- Jaw and neck pain
- Tooth decay
- Vomiting and losing bits of teeth while doing so, OUCH!
Can you repair the damage caused to your mouth from meth use? The short answer is... NO, especially not if you are still using. Even if you successfully quit, some damage may be irreversible, requiring extensive dental repair, or even bridges or full sets of dentures. The cost is high, not only financially, but physically and mentally.
How can meth mouth be treated?
Treatment for meth mouth first depends on how bad the decay is. You may be able to reverse some of the damage by using fluoride. To fix cavities caused by mild tooth decay, a dentist will fill the cavities with another substance, also known as fillings. For more severe tooth decay, you may need a crown or a root canal. In extreme cases, your dentist may have to remove the tooth. If you have enough money, you'll be lucky to replace these void spots with artificial teeth or partials. If not, prepare for years of "gumming" your food.
Receiving treatment for meth mouth is embarrassing and painful.
The other problem is, the permanent recovery rate for meth abusers is extremely low. Often, a meth user will go back to abusing the drug even after extensive dental repair, which obviously makes all the effort to fix the problem frivolous.
Don't use meth
Keep your smile, sanity, physical health and self respect. Don't use meth. One try is not worth the damage it can cause to you life, or those that love you.
© 2013 Rebecca
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