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Heroin Long-Term Effects on Mouth and Teeth

A young woman flashes a beautiful smile.
A healthy smile starts with good dental hygiene, which is often neglected once heroin enters the picture.

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Most of us have heard of “meth mouth.” But the truth is that heroin users experience the same dental problems that users of meth do.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, rampant dental decay was found in both people who injected heroin and people who injected methamphetamines.

Heroin Addict Teeth

Researchers weren’t exactly sure what caused cavities in users of meth and heroin, but offered a few possible explanations.

One theory is that people who are battling addiction neglect their dental hygiene and tend to eat more sugary foods. Another theory is that heroin and meth use cause “dry mouth,” a condition that inhibits normal saliva production, leading to tooth decay.

How to Prevent “Heroin Teeth”

It’s worth noting that about half of both heroin and meth users in the study reported rarely, if ever, brushing their teeth. They also snacked about six times a day and a very high percentage smoked cigarettes.

The take home? Good dental hygiene may feel like the last thing to worry about when battling a heroin addiction, but if you want to keep your teeth, it’s critical to do the basics like brush twice a day. Even better, floss and visit the dentist on a regular basis.

Help, Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

What many people fail to realize is that heroin addiction can be successfully treated—with the right help. At The Raleigh House, located in Denver, we embrace a whole-person approach to healing that addresses physical, mental and emotional health. Each person who walks through our door is assigned his or her own master’s level therapist. One-on-one and group therapy sessions help heal emotionally, while chef-prepared meals and activities like yoga and kick boxing help heal the body. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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