How Meth Affects Oral Health

Despite its nasty reputation for ruining lives, methamphetamine continues to be a common drug of abuse in the United States. Relatively cheap and easy to make, it is much stronger than other drugs. The medical and dental side effects are also grave and difficult to ignore. The euphoria caused by meth comes at a high cost to physical health.

The Oral Side Effects of Meth

Commonly referred to as “meth mouth,” the damage methamphetamine abuse does to the teeth and gums is astonishing. The Placerville Dental Group will not provide photos, since they are quite disturbing. But we do want to help our patients understand the devastating results from meth use.

Dentists and hygienists see a distinct pattern among users that begins with bad breath, increased occurrence of cavities, and bright red gums that bleed. Later, teeth are eaten away by erosion that then damages the jawbone. Research continues on how exactly meth causes these problems, but many dentists believe that dry mouth, along with poor nutrition and tooth grinding from meth-induced paranoia create a vicious cycle of decay and oral destruction. Remove all concern for dental hygiene and add in cravings for sugary snacks and beverages and the situation is ripe for multiple cavities, severe gum recession and outright tooth loss.

Recognizing Meth Use

What are the signs to look for in a friend, relative or loved one?

  • Sudden and accelerated tooth decay or cavities that cannot be explained by other reasons;
  • Tooth decay on the outer surface of the teeth and between the teeth near the gums;
  • A caved-in look around the mouth, indicating severe gum and jaw damage, usually accompanied by suddenly missing teeth.

The physical, mental, social and dental effects of meth use are tragic, so if someone you know needs help to combat this addiction, get them to qualified professionals as soon as possible. To treat the painful and dangerous damage left behind, please don’t hesitate to contact the caring staff at the Placerville Dental Group. Our concern, knowledge and discretion makes us qualified to assist all in Placerville, even those with severe dental issues, to find a reason to smile again as they work towards recovery.


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