What is meth mouth, exactly? Meth mouth is a condition characterized by extensive tooth decay and gum disease. More rarely, this set of conditions may be referred to as “crank decay” or “meth teeth.”Meth mouth can be severe and, in many cases, irreversible. The greater the frequency of use, the more serious the decay and damage.
In an addicted state, many people will continue to use a drug despite the negative consequences to their health. Along with fear or a sense of shame, this may prevent a person from getting the dental care they need.
If you would like more details about what causes meth mouth, contact Vertava Health at 888.601.8693. Our meth rehab programs help people find a healthier life and can include education related to the effects of substance use. Our treatment teams are made up of professionals who understand how the drug affects your body, mind, and spirit. They will provide you with medically supervised care that is tailored to your individual needs.
What Is Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is a condition caused by regular and prolonged use of methamphetamine. The drug has an extremely corrosive effect on the teeth that can lead to decay, infection, and even tooth loss. Meth mouth is more likely to occur when a person smokes meth rather than snorting it or using other methods of administration, as this exposes their teeth to the drug’s acidity more quickly. The condition can also be exacerbated by poor oral hygiene and nutritional deficiencies that are common among meth users.
Meth mouth is serious and can lead to additional health problems if left untreated. If you or someone you love is struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, it’s important to get them into a meth rehab program as soon as possible. With the right level of care, they can learn how to recover and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Signs Of Meth Mouth
If family members see unexplainable tooth decay that seems to get worse rapidly, it may be a sign of meth use. A person who chronically uses meth may also look malnourished and have skin sores on their face and body.
Someone with meth mouth may have trouble eating due to pain or lose teeth. Because of this, they may prefer to eat soft foods or avoid eating.
Meth mouth can progress in stages:
- Bad breath, cavities, and swollen, red gums develop. Cavities typically start developing between the front teeth and on the outside of the rear teeth.
- The tooth decay accelerates, the gums begin to recede, and the lips develop sores.
- The tooth decay extends to the gum line, and a person’s teeth have started to fall out.
Signs and symptoms of meth mouth include teeth that are:
- Falling apart
A person’s teeth may also become very flat from continuously grinding them. When cavities become severe, the tooth can break off at the root.
What Causes Meth Mouth?
What is meth mouth? Why does meth rot your teeth? Meth mouth is thought to begin due to both psychological and physiological changes that result from drug use.:
- When a person takes meth, they may develop uncontrollable jaw clenching or teeth grinding. If this happens on a regular basis, such as with chronic drug use, a person’s teeth may crack.
- Meth’s effects are long-lasting, and people frequently take the drug in binges or back-to-back doses. While under the influence, a person may neglect important habits of personal care, such as brushing their teeth. Because of this, many people who use the drug have poor oral hygiene.
- Plaque and bacteria can build up during periods of poor oral health care. The acid that’s produced by this bacteria can pit the tooth enamel, the damage that can eventually become a cavity. Meth itself is acidic, which can contribute to this damage even more.
- Meth can decrease a person’s appetite, leading to a poor diet and malnourishment, states that can weaken teeth. While on the drug, people frequently crave carbonated, high-calorie, sugar-laden beverages. Sugar can feed harmful bacteria and create plaque acids that damage tooth enamel.
- Meth decreases the amount of protective saliva that’s in a person’s mouth, leading to xerostomia or dry mouth. This state can increase the risk of tooth decay as well. People who also drink or smoke, behaviors that are common with meth use, can have more severe xerostomia.
Even more, oral tissues may not receive the blood they need due to the way meth shrinks blood vessels. Without this vital blood, a person’s teeth and gums can become unhealthy.
Meth Mouth Treatments
Quite often, when the damage and decay from meth mouth are severe, the teeth cannot be treated and must be extracted. However, depending on the situation, a dentist may be able to do specific work to help a person.
A thorough evaluation will help dental professionals create a personalized care plan for people seeking treatment for meth mouth. Treatment may include:
- Fillings for cavities
- Mouth guards for teeth grinding or clenching
- Veneers for stained teeth
- Dentures or implants for missing teeth
If a person is still using meth, the dental provider should be careful when using general anesthesia, local anesthetics with a vasoconstrictor, nitrous oxide, sedatives, or when prescribing narcotics.
Establishing healthy oral care habits, such as brushing and flossing, can also help a person have better oral health. Since meth use can cause malnourishment, eating a nutritious diet can also be beneficial at this time.
Getting Treatment for Meth Mouth at Vertava Health
The key to preventing meth mouth or further damage to the teeth, body, and mind is quitting this dangerous drug. Finding a comprehensive treatment program for meth can help people build the skills they need to lead healthier, drug-free lives. Contact Vertava Health today for more information on meth use, addiction, and treatment at 888.601.8693.