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Meth Mouth

Updated on July 28, 2016

Visible Effects Of Meth

Issues with teeth and dental problems are very common within the drug addicts circle. Drug addicts often don’t take care of themselves. It’s not to say they were always this way. Drug addiction does not discriminate. There are no economical or social boundaries. It does not matter what your race or ethnicity is. Addiction can grab a hold of any individual; from lawyers and doctors to teachers and your own family members. You probably know of someone right now who is either addicted to prescription drugs or illegal street narcotics. One drug in particular that has become a problem in society is crystal meth. It is often also referred on the streets as crank, speed, ice, or glass. Crank usually is comprised of a lower purity level whereas ice and glass are near the purest forms of the drug. It is one of those drugs which can grab a hold of you after a single hit. Addicts have many ways to take the drug. It can be shot through the veins, crushed and snorted, consumed, and smoked through a glass pipe. One major aspect of this drug is the incredible weight loss and anorexic effects it has on an individual. What has become more apparent in recent years is visits to the dentist where they see many addicts come in with a condition they refer as meth mouth.

There Go Your Teeth

As crystal meth use increases across the country, more and more dentists are stating what they believe to be an epidemic. While oral imparities can occur from other sources such as other illegal drugs, smoking, dipping, and sugars, none can come close to the effects crystal meth has on the mouth.

A very common first sign of crystal meth abuse is the extreme rotting of teeth. This has become known to the medical world and media world as meth mouth. Addicts who suffer from meth mouth have blackened, stained, and rotting teeth. The effects are so bad that this condition can’t be saved or repaired even with young and short term users. The exact cause of meth mouth is not yet fully understood by the medical and dental communities. Some feel that the decay is attributed by the corrosive effects from the chemicals that make up crystal meth. These toxic chemicals include anhydrous ammonia which is commonly found in fertilizer, red phosphorus which is used to make matchboxes, and lithium which is common in batteries. When smoked or snorted, the tooth’s protective enamel coating can erode. But it’s more likely that this extreme degree of tooth decay is brought on by a combination of side effects from crystal meth.

Origins Of Meth

Methamphetamine’s origins come from Far East Asia in Taiwan and South Korea. Later it came onto the market as a legal form of an appetite suppressant called Dexadrine. It is still used in a pharmaceutical form of weight loss for obese individuals but this practice has dies down in recent years. The crystal meth that’s available on the streets today is mostly manufactured in labs. These labs range from mom and pop trailer operations to super labs run by the drug cartels. It usually appears in a white powder form but also as a more potent form as white crystals. It is often odorless but sometimes it may have a strong ammonia smell which is a byproduct of illegal and sketchy manufacturing in bootleg operations.

Much like other stimulants, crystal meth decreases a person’s appetite, reduces fatigue temporarily, boosts alertness, creates confidence, and at higher doses creates feelings of euphoria. Crystal meth uses are often seen to be very talkative, energetic, and show a sense of well being. When the drug is injected or smoked, it creates an intense rush and high. The feeling it produces is what causes addicts to come back to the drug. It makes them want to seek the high over and over again but they never quite reach the same high they felt after the first use. This is a huge part to why crystal meth is so addictive. People see that the benefits outweigh the negatives but it’s simply a mirage.

The addiction to crystal meth and other drugs can cripple a person’s finances, destroy a person’s health, and hurt every single person they care about around them. Crystal meth stimulates the central nervous system, elevating blood pressure and increasing one’s heart rate and body temperature. With repeated use of the drug, one feels paranoia, nausea, tremors, dizziness, hyperthermia, stroke, and even heart failure. Psychologically speaking, crystal meth can cause extreme bouts with anxiety and hallucinations. Crystal meth addicts can also experience something known as toxic psychosis, a phenomenon that makes the person feel paranoid and panicky while having extremely violent behaviors towards others or themselves. One may also get stuck in repetitive physical motions and speech patterns. Although these symptoms may reside after the stoppage of the drug, the effects may be apparent for weeks and months later. Doctors believe this may be due to damaged neurotransmitters in the brain.

When crystal meth users go on binges also known as tweaking, they often experience poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and poor behavior patterns. Tweaking can go on for long periods of time until the person runs out of money, is mentally disoriented or confused, physically exhausted, or eventually dies from an overdose. More and more emergency room doctors are seeing patients come in with psychosis, stroke, and even heart attacks from crystal meth use.

Another important note about health and safety with crystal meth users is that they are less likely to take care of themselves and their health. In addition to malnutrition and the lack of sleep, the risk of Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS make IV crystal meth a higher risk group in the community. Stimulant use has shown that some men have a difficulty in keeping an erection but increases their sex drive. Feeling the euphoric high from crystal meth makes one feel confident and pumped which allows them to engage in unsafe sex. This increases their chances tenfold of contracting HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis, and other STDs.


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