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Effects of Drug Abuse on the Teeth


Your Oral Hygiene Can Suffer From Addiction; Get Help Today!

People who have a substance abuse problem often see the effects on their teeth, and these effects often show up sooner than expected. Highly addictive substances like cocaine, meth, and amphetamines can lead to conditions dentists often refer as meth-mouth or cocaine teeth.

These drugs can cause permanent damage that causes teeth to decay or fall out. Chronic tooth decay, cracked teeth, gingivitis, and other problems are often experienced by those who have a drug addiction. And usually, a visit to the dentist is the last stop for many addicts, making the problem worse.

Substance abuse plays a colossal role in poor oral health. People suffering from drug abuse present with problems such as palate perforation, lesions on the gums, and teeth grinding. Plus, the increasing consumption of sugary drinks – including alcohol, – sugary snacks, and refined carbs can lead to a higher rate of tooth decay and plaque. This is particularly true if a person does not brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis.

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Drugs that Affect Oral Health

Individual drugs can have different effects on oral health. In addition, people with a substance abuse problem can have a hard time following to a suitable oral hygiene routine. This usually results in devastating effects on their teeth and mouth health, resulting in pain which leads them to self-medicate or just intake more drugs, which worsens the problem.

The lifestyle that goes with drug use also affects oral health in other ways through high sugar diets, malnutrition, poor oral hygiene, and lack of regular professional dental care. It’s important to note that oral health also has significant consequences on quality of life and general health.

These are the most common ways the effects of addictive drugs present in the mouth and teeth:

  • Dry mouth, which leads to rotting enamel
  • Grinding teeth
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Rotten teeth
  • Gum diseases like gingivitis

Drug Abuse and Tooth Decay

It’s a simple fact: the use of prescription and illegal drugs causes tooth decay. Even those who use or abuse over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, asthma medications, or cough syrup can see signs of poor oral health such as enamel damage, acid dissolving the teeth, and tooth decay.

The more sugar is in the drug, the more teeth problems people experience. People who use illegal drugs are more prone to tooth deterioration, and this is exacerbated by their sugar cravings. Blackened teeth, tooth decay, and rotten teeth are more noticeable in people with more severe drug addiction.

Drugs that Affect Oral Health

While most dentists label the effects of addiction on oral health as meth mouth, many other drugs are also linked to damage to the teeth, gums, jaw, and oral hygiene.

Below are some of the most common drugs that interact with oral hygiene.


This highly addictive stimulant breaks down the tooth enamel. When cocaine is smoked, it is directly absorbed by the gums, leading to mouth lesions that can easily become infected. Snorting powdered cocaine can lead to tissue damage in the upper palate, which can eventually cause a hole to form between the nose and mouth, also known as Nasal Septal Perforation.


Meth makes the mouth dry out, causing people to grind their teeth. People who struggle with meth addiction usually crave sugary foods and drinks which can further damage their oral hygiene.


Although opioids are not considered stimulant drugs, they do cause users to grind their teeth, which cracks teeth and damages their jaw. Cracked teeth are more susceptible to decay. Those who inject this drug, are prone to oral fungus or viral infections that affect the mouth.

Another alarming fact about opioid and oral health is that these drugs usually reduce pain, so the loss of sensitivity could lead the user to ignore signs of pain from cavities or gum diseases.

Get the Help You Deserve

Substance Abuse Treatment Can Save Your Teeth

Drug abuse and addiction are treatable and many people live healthy sober lives after rehab. Many dentists can help repair the damage, reducing long-term risk for gum disease and tooth loss.

If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse, dependency, or addiction, please call us today at 1-877-380-9777. Our counselors can help you deal with the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of your drug abuse.

Drug abuse treatment is effective and safe. It has helped many women reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full-service drug, alcohol, and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for women suffering from substance abuse issues.