How Do Drugs Affect Your Teeth and Dental Health?

How Do Drugs Affect Your Teeth?
Dominic Nicosia

Written By

Dominic Nicosia

Drug and alcohol abuse can severely impact teeth and oral health. These problems go beyond just affecting a person’s outward smile and can include serious health risks. They also lead to confidence and quality of life-related issues. A growing body of research, including a recent study from the Society of the Study of Addiction, indicates that dental patients with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population and are less likely to receive dental care. Learn more about how drugs and alcohol can affect your teeth and how recovery can help you improve your dental health.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Teeth?

Alcohol abuse is the most common and fatal type of substance use disorder. In addition to severely impacting your organs, central nervous system, and cognitive function, alcohol is incredibly high in sugar and acid, which can hasten gum disease and tooth decay/rot. Excessive drinking can strip away protective tooth enamel, leading to cavities and increased risk for periodontal disease. Drinking too much can also lead to alcohol-induced dry mouth, leading to cavities, sores, and eventual abscesses.

How Does Heroin Affect Your Teeth?

Heroin use can deplete saliva production, leading to dry mouth and subsequent cavities. Additionally, heroin causes intense cravings for sugary foods, which have been well documented to cause tooth decay and rot. People who use heroin also grind their teeth which can cause serious erosion and breakage as well as structural jaw and gum damage.

How Do Opioids Affect Your Teeth and Dental Health?

Prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone affect your teeth the same way that heroin does, but they can also cause people to ignore the pain that indicates a serious problem. This makes them more vulnerable to serious problems like abscesses which can lead to stroke. Injecting opioids can also cause oral fungus that can lead to serious infection.

How Does Cocaine Affect Your Teeth and Mouth?

Cocaine becomes incredibly acidic when mixed with saliva. When applied to the gums, it can create a serious risk of infection. Cocaine use also causes people to grind their teeth out of anxiety and agitation, which can lead to TMJ and other jaw and gum issues. When snorted, cocaine can harm the tissue between your nose and the roof of your mouth, eventually causing a hole and making it hard to talk or eat. 

Meth Mouth: Methamphetamine and Oral Health

We’ve written extensively on how meth affects teeth and oral health, but it’s worth repeating. Meth is perhaps the most harmful substance for your teeth and oral health. There’s even a condition called “meth mouth,” which means severe tooth decay and gum disease, which often causes teeth to break or fall out. The condition is even recognized by the American Dental Association, which reports a strong correlation between meth abuse and tooth decay. Teeth and gums are often the earliest health-related and cosmetic casualties of meth abuse. These issues can pave the way for more serious conditions like cardiac and organ failure.

Reclaiming Your Smile in Recovery

Recovery from alcohol and other drugs gives you the opportunity to smile again, both physically and emotionally. No matter how drugs affect your teeth, the process of healing begins with seeking treatment for your substance use disorder. Recovery Unplugged is ready to help you or your loved one reclaim your life and your smile from addiction. We offer facilities across the country, multiple levels of care (including residential and online treatment), and we’re in-network with most major insurance companies to make treatment more affordable. Contact our admissions staff now to start your treatment, recovery, and future.

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia

The Senior Content Writer here at Recovery Unplugged, Dominic Nicosia oversees the maintenance of our online blog while also handling and overseeing all written communications within Marketing. He also writes articles, thought leadership pieces, and basically everything written regarding web content. Dominic has over seven years of writing experience in the addiction care field and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Dominic has been writing and playing music for years and is the proud owner of a Jack Russell/Pitbull mix named Jack. His favorite books are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
    Call Now: (855) 384-5794