Methamphetamine (meth) damages your brain, accelerates your heart rate—and has devastating effects on your teeth and gums. Sometimes, within only months of meth use, perfectly healthy teeth will darken, twist, soften, and begin to fall out.
Why Does Meth Use Damage Teeth?
Meth use damages teeth because it dries the salivary glands and shrinks blood vessels.
- Salivary glands – Saliva helps neutralize acid and fight bacteria in the mouth. Saliva reduction increases bacteria and tooth decay. Consuming sugary foods and drinks increases acid in the mouth and worsens the problem.
- Blood vessels – The blood vessels in the gum tissue shrink with meth use, causing gum tissue to break down. Meth users often have cracked, receding gums. Unhealthy gums can result in gum disease, which causes teeth to loosen.
According to the American Dental Association, one study of 571 methamphetamine users’ oral health reported the percentage of users that were affected by these oral health issues:
- Cavities: 96 percent
- Untreated tooth decay: 58 percent
- Six or more missing teeth: 31 percent
What Are the Treatment Options for Meth-Damaged Teeth?
If you have recovered from meth addiction or any other addiction that damaged your teeth, a skilled cosmetic dentist can help. Your treatment options depend on your oral health and the condition of your teeth. After examining your teeth and taking x-rays of your teeth and bone, a dentist can determine their condition.
Possible treatment options
- Severe decay of unsavable teeth – Tooth removal and partial or complete dentures or dental implants
- Decayed, savable teeth – Tooth fillings, root canal treatment, dental crowns, or dental bridges
- Stained teeth – Dental bonding, porcelain veneers
- Gum disease – Gum disease therapy, including root scaling and planing
Consult with a Cosmetic Dentist
If you are recovering from substance abuse that has damaged your teeth and gums, consult with a cosmetic dentist. After listening to your concerns about your teeth and smile, a cosmetic dentist will discuss your treatment options.