Tooth Decay and Its Relation to Addiction

Addiction is a terrible disease that causes harm to the body in a number of ways. This harm can be seen in quite a few places, one of which is the teeth. Tooth decay is a serious symptom of addiction, and is usually a sign that a person is well into their substance abuse.

Substance Abuse and Its Effects on the Teeth

  • Dry Mouth: This affects addicts of meth, amphetamines, tobacco, caffeine, and marijuana. The absence of saliva in the mouth leads to an increase in acidic levels. This will, over time, erode the enamel and lead to rotten teeth and cavities.
  • Teeth Grinding: This is a common side-effect of most stimulants, such as crack cocaine, meth, and amphetamines. They often cause the user to grind their teeth, which causes the teeth to crack, and damages the enamel. It also causes serious damage to the jaw and the bones around the mouth.
  • Reduced Blood Flow: This is especially common in meth addicts. The dangerous nature of meth, and some select drugs, kill blood vessels and cause a reduction in blood flow to the roots and gums.
  • Mouth Sores: This happens most often in the consumption of highly acidic drugs, like cocaine, which come in direct contact with the gums and soft tissue in the mouth. This contact causes mouth sores, which become infected over time. This infection then spreads through the mouth, and even to other parts of the body.
  • Acid Reflux: This is a situation in which the acids in the stomach are brought up to the mouth. This causes damage to enamel and soft tissue. It is common with substances that naturally cause vomiting in participants, such as alcohol, heroin, and various
  • General Oral Neglect: The nature of addiction is such that, in the pursuit of illicit substances, addicts often neglect other important duties, one of which is basic dental hygiene. The need to brush and floss their teeth is no longer a priority to addicts, which leads to a host of dental issues. They are also unlikely to report these dental issues, which leads to further complications.
  • High Sugar Content: Alcohol, and other substances with a high sugar content have a tendency to to rot the teeth and cause Many drugs elicit a high food craving which, most of the time, is for junk food, high in sugar. Once in the mouth, sugar is transformed into acid that damages the enamel.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Addicts are not known for maintaining nutritional diets. This means many of them lack the nutrients necessary to sustain healthy bones and teeth, making them more prone to a number of dental issues.

When to Get Help for Tooth Decay

Tooth decay and addiction take more lives than most realise. If you have observed that you, or someone close to you, has, over a short period of time, developed a number of the signs listed above, it is always best to immediately seek help.

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