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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

My intense love for candy, cakes, and everything in between started as a child. I simply couldn't go one day without something sweet to eat. But my love for all things sweet took a toll on my teeth. My dentist diagnosed me with seven cavities, each one a different size and depth. After sitting through four long dental appointments, I decided to make a change. I now monitor my diet and only eat things that benefit my oral health. I'm here to help you take better care of your teeth. My blog offers tips on how to improve your diet, maintain good oral hygiene, and many other topics. Hopefully, you can learn to overcome your bad habits just as I did. Good luck with your future dental health.


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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

How Does Methamphetamine Use Destroy Teeth?

by Eric Bailey

Methamphetamine is a dangerous and highly addictive drug. While it has numerous negative effects on the body and on health, one of the most notable and long-lasting is its effects on dental health. On one study of meth users, 96% had cavities, 58% had untreated tooth decay, and 31% had six or more missing teeth. If you are considering trying methamphetamine or have been using meth and are looking for inspiration to quit, learning more about how meth destroys your teeth might give you the gumption you need to stay away from this horrendous substance. Here's a closer look at five specific ways in which methamphetamine use ruins mouths.

Acid Erosion

Most tooth decay arises as a result of the acids released by oral bacteria. Meth causes decay in a similar manner, but even more quickly. Meth is very acidic. Some dentists have compared smoking meth to gargling with battery acid! It literally erodes the teeth from the outside in. The damage that results can quickly reach the point that it's irreparable with standard fillings and crowns, so the teeth must be removed.

Dry Mouth

Especially when it is smoked, meth can dry the mouth out. Oral bacteria love dry mouth and will thrive in these conditions, making decay and gum disease even worse. When high, most meth users are not conscious that their mouths are dry, so they don't make sure they drink enough water to keep their mouths moist.

Gritting the Teeth

When you're high on methamphetamine, you are likely to grit your teeth in response to stress. Some users do this more often when they're coming down from a high and seeking another dose. Grinding and gritting the teeth accelerates the decay caused by acid and bacteria. It can contribute to the "crumbling" that is often seen in the mouths of meth addicts. Addicts often find it impossible to avoid gritting their teeth. They report feeling that their jaws slam shut on their own, leaving them unable to control this action. So, don't assume that you'll just get high and remind yourself not to grit your teeth -- this strategy won't work.

Lack of Oral Hygiene

When all you're thinking about is getting high and seeking your next fix, you're not likely to take time out to brush and floss your teeth. Meth users also often crave sugary foods. They may nosh on these sugary foods and then go to bed without brushing their teeth. The sugar exposure and lack of oral hygiene accelerate decay and lead to profound gum disease. The gum disease can quickly progress to the point that it starts breaking down the ligaments that attach the teeth to the jaw bones, which causes them to fall out of the mouth.

Meth addicts also often have money struggles, since the drug is so expensive. This, and the embarrassment they develop because they know their teeth are ailing, may keep them from seeing a dentist for regular checkups. Thus, problems are not identified early and tend to be quite severe by the time the patient finally seeks any sort of treatment.

Poor Diet

A lack of funds and an intense focus on getting high can prevent meth users from following a healthy diet. This will result in deficiencies in various nutrients, such as vitamin C and zinc. These deficiencies only serve to make problems like gum disease and tooth decay worse. They can also inhibit the body's ability to fight infection, which may cause infections in the tooth roots to spread rapidly and result in the loss of multiple teeth.

If you choose to use meth, you must be aware that you're doing so to the detriment of your teeth. Even if you kick your addiction one day, the damage you do to your teeth will remain. It's best to avoid this drug entirely -- and if you're already using it, do whatever it takes to quit as soon as possible.