The Four Ways Methamphetamine Destroys Teeth

Using methamphetamine is a mistake that will continue to pay for over the rest of your lifetime. Among the long-term side effects of meth use are a decreased attention span, memory loss, and mood disturbances. Once side effect, in particular, will be difficult or impossible to hide: severe tooth decay. If you're still on the fence as to whether or not you want to try meth, perhaps looking over these four ways that meth literally rots the teeth out of your mouth will convince you to "just say no."

Direct Acid Contact

Meth is a very acidic substance, and when you inhale it, that acid is coming into contact with your teeth. A common analogy used by dentists is that smoking meth is like gargling with battery acid. The acid eats away at your tooth enamel, allowing the bacteria that cause tooth decay instant access to the deeper portions of your teeth.

Clenching and Grinding

When people are high on meth, they often feel paranoid and anxious. This causes them to clench their jaws and grind their teeth. Clenching and grinding can contribute to tooth decay in a normal, non-drug using person – so imagine what it can do to teeth that have already been substantially weakened by contact with acidic meth. The teeth of meth addicts can actually appear to "crumble," and this is largely due to the clenching and grinding behavior.

Poor Hygiene

When you start using meth, it becomes your sole focus in life. Nothing else seems important – you're just worried about seeking that next high. Thus, users are rarely worried about practices like brushing and flossing their teeth, let alone seeing their dentist for a professional cleaning. This lack of oral hygiene only serves to make matters worse for addicts whose teeth are suffering.

Sugary Beverages

Meth makes many users crave sugary beverages and treats while they're high. (Users certainly are not crunching on carrots and whole wheat toast when they're tripping. ) Since the effects of smoking can last for 12 hours or more, meth users are high much of the time, and so they're consuming sugary, unhealthy beverages and foods much of the time. Combined with the other effects on this list, this is certain to contribute to tooth decay, since the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive in a sugar-rich environment.

Unless you want teeth that are black, crumbly and painful, steer clear of methamphetamine. Most mistakes in life, you can recover from – but smoking meth is a mistake you'll continue to pay for until the day you die. If you have dental problems related to meth use, talk to a dentist like Benjamin D Hull DDS.