Drug and alcohol addiction can do significant damage to one’s organs, especially the lungs, heart, and brain. In many cases, substances can also do significant damage to the teeth, mouth, and gums. When you are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, you need to make sure you are getting proper dental care. Luckily, many resources are available for those who are in need.
How Do Various Substances Affect Your Teeth?
Methamphetamine is the first substance many people think of when discussing the ways in which substance abuse can hurt your teeth. Users of methamphetamine often develop what is known as “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is severe tooth decay and gum disease that occurs in meth users.
Why does meth affect your mouth this way? When someone uses methamphetamine, the salivary glands will then dry out. When a mouth is severely dry, the natural bacteria and acids will eat away at the teeth and lead to cavities. Meth users will also have a tendency to consume a lot of sugary drinks and food when they are on a binge. This can lead to more cavities and teeth decay, which is why many people who are addicted to methamphetamine end up with missing teeth or stained teeth.
Alcohol is another substance that can have a significant effect on a person’s dental health. For those who are addicted to alcohol, tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth sores are all highly likely. Alcohol can also dry out the mouth, which can lead to the same sorts of issues that meth users have. Those who abuse alcohol are also more likely to develop oral cancer.
Methamphetamine and alcohol are not the only substances that are detrimental to your dental health. Opioids can cause teeth grinding as well as sugar cravings, which can lead to tooth decay. Additionally, cocaine can break down the enamel if it comes into contact with the teeth. Also, users who smoke anny substance like marijuana are at more of a risk of developing oral cancer.
Getting Dental Repair After Substance Abuse
When you have made the courageous step to get help and seek treatment for your substance use disorder, there are a lot of areas in your life where you’ll need to repair the damage. Dental care can be one of these areas. Fortunately, there are many options available to you when it comes to dental repair:
Cavity fillings and root canals – Fillings are typically used to treat cavities of the teeth or to repair teeth that are cracked. In a root canal, infections in the teeth are treated, and empty canals are then filled.
Veneers and crowns – These procedures are cosmetic in nature. Veneers are covers for the front of the teeth whereas crowns are caps that cover the top of the tooth. Both of these options will significantly improve the appearance of the teeth.
Dentures – In some cases, the best thing to do is to have your teeth pulled and be fitted for dentures. These can be full dentures for the entire mouth or partial dentures for just a few teeth.
Dental Implants – Dental implants are also an option. With a dental implant, metal posts are surgically implanted into the jawbone and replacement teeth are then mounted onto them.
Once you have repaired the damage done to your teeth from drug and/or alcohol addiction, it’s important that you have regular dental visits. It’s also important to brush your teeth twice a day and also to floss. Read more about substance abuse dental care resources so you can improve your dental health.
This post was written by Alice Munday, a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia.