Recreational Drug Abuse & Dental Health

Recreational drug abuse has long been known to have negative consequences for addicts’ overall health. Unbeknownst to many users, oral health is also severely impacted by drug abuse due to behavioral changes such as dental hygiene neglect, resulting in dental diseases. Depending on the user’s drug of choice, common dental health effects include dry mouth, tooth and bone loss, severe decay, and tooth discoloration among numerous other complaints. Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is common in the United States. Fortunately, addiction can be overcome with the right support and care. Here are some common recreational drugs and the negative impacts they have on dental health:

Opiate Abuse vs. Dental Health

Opiates are drugs that are derived from opium and used to relieve pain and induce sleep. Opiates are highly addictive and can cause severe dental damage. The following oral symptoms may occur due to opioid abuse:
  • Distorted sense of taste
  • Burning mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Dental caries
  • Periodontal diseases (gum disease)
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Stimulant Abuse vs. Dental Health

Stimulant drugs produce a “high” that can make users feel a sense of increased energy, alertness and concentration. Examples include cocaine, crack-cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin. The following oral symptoms are commonly associated with stimulant abuse:
  • Nasal septum perforation
  • Change in sense of smell
  • Gum recession from local application of cocaine
  • Dental erosion
  • Sores and burns from smoking crack-cocaine
  • “Meth Mouth” – a group of symptoms associated with meth use: stained or blackened teeth, tooth decay, dry mouth, bruxism and “crumbling teeth.”
  • Dental caries

Hallucinogens vs. Dental Health

Hallucinogens refer to a group of drugs that distort a user’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, and/or hearing as well as distorts their thoughts and feelings. Hallucinogens include LSD, PCP, “Magic Mushrooms,” DMT, Peyote, Ketamine, Salvia, and Dextromorphan (DXM). These drugs produce the following dental consequences:
  • Tooth erosion
  • Gingival (gum) recession
  • Palatal perforation
  • Cavities
  • Dry mouth
  • Bruxism
  • Jaw pain
  • Ulcers
If you abuse any sort of drug, make sure to inform your dentist for a treatment plan that is customized to your needs. You may need to visit your dentist more often than the recommended two times a year, as you are more susceptible to oral health damage. For more information on finding the necessary resources to quit your addiction, click here. Schedule your dental appointment with Advanced DDS at 516-825-1100 today. Dental Health

Leave a Comment