Methamphetamine or meth is a human-made drug. It is an addictive stimulant that impairs decision-making processes which makes it difficult for meth users to quit. Many times, friends or family are the ones to seek treatment options because they can see the drug’s physical and mental damage. Meth is especially hard on teeth, resulting in a condition known as “meth mouth.” Unfortunately, the relationship between meth and teeth creates irreversible damage.
Meth and Your Teeth
Severe tooth decay and gum disease are the defining characteristics of meth mouth. Some people experience only mild damage with a few cavities and slight gum disease, but most individuals are likely to have stained, blackened, rotting, or crumbling teeth. Extensive gum disease may result in tooth loss. Severely damaged teeth make it difficult to eat and can lead to infections.
How Does Meth Damage Teeth?
Meth damages teeth in several ways. The extent of damage depends on the length and degree of use. However, studies have found that some people experience severe tooth decay after as little as one year of meth use.
Acids damage teeth and methamphetamine is acidic. Under normal conditions, the salivary glands produce enough saliva to remove acid from teeth. Meth addiction damages the salivary glands, reducing the amount of saliva in the mouth. When there is insufficient saliva, acid remains on the teeth and eats away at tooth enamel. Softened tooth enamel then leads to tooth decay.
Both sugar and meth trigger the brain’s reward system, increasing the production of dopamine. As a result, some individuals will crave sugar as a way to add to their sense of well-being. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of sugar to equal the euphoric feelings of a drug such as meth. Sugar is turned into an acid as it is absorbed by the body which increases the amount of acid attacking tooth enamel.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Methamphetamine produces anxiety and nervousness in users. This increased emotional state often presents itself through the grinding and clenching of teeth which can cause the following:
- Flatten, fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Increased tooth sensitivity
The interaction between meth and your teeth can also cause jaw pain and headaches.
Meth usage creates a lifestyle where dental hygiene is a low priority. Users let the amount of acid build up in the mouth which weakens tooth enamel. Since many suffer from a loss of appetite, they do not receive the necessary nutrients for the development and maintenance of bones or teeth.
Can Tooth Damage Be Reversed?
Tooth damage is permanent. It can’t be reversed; however, restorative techniques are available. If damaged teeth can’t be fixed by filling cavities, they may need to be replaced with crowns or implants. In extreme cases, dentures may be required.
Contact Serenity Light Recovery for Meth Addiction Treatment
The only way to preserve the health of your teeth is to break the cycle of meth addiction. But, taking the first step to recovery can be difficult. At Serenity Light Recovery, we understand the negative impact meth has had on your life. We also know you will need a variety of treatments to learn more positive and productive behaviors. Our holistic approach incorporates unique recovery treatments for drug abuse such as:
- Equine therapy
- Yoga therapy
- Group therapy
- Individual Therapy
- Family therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Our accredited Houston addiction treatment programs can help place you on a path of hope and health. If you or someone you love needs is suffering from methamphetamine use, call Serenity Light Recovery at 855.658.6109 for information on our meth addiction treatment options.