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It can take a few months or a few years, but it’s almost a sure thing that meth will damage your teeth.
If you’re lucky, that could mean just a few fillings or crowns. But, at its worst, meth mouth results in decaying teeth and an eventual need for expensive dental implants or even dentures.
Meth mouth usually starts with cavities and swollen gums. How quickly it progresses depends on a number of factors, including the condition of your teeth before you started using and how you take care of your teeth (or don’t) while you are using.
Why Does Meth Rot Your Teeth?
Meth works in several different ways to damage teeth, including:
- Meth causes a decrease in the saliva that would normally prevent acids from eating away at tooth enamel.
- Meth can increase cravings for sugary drinks and foods.
- Meth use can result in anxiety and paranoia that leads to jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
- Meth users often neglect good dental hygiene, including brushing and flossing and regular dental check-ups.
- Meth contains acidic contents that can damage teeth.
- Meth can suppress the appetite, leading to a deficiency in the nutrients needed to support healthy teeth and bones.
Preventing Meth Teeth
The first and most obvious step is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss and use an alcohol-free mouthwash. (Alcohol will only dry the mouth out more.)
Chewing sugar-free gum can help boost saliva. Drinking plenty of water is also a good idea.
It’s probably the last thing you feel like doing, but getting a dental check up can prevent small issues from becoming big problems. A filling, for example, costs a couple hundred dollars to fix. A root canal costs more than a thousand.
Lastly, wearing a retainer will stop you from grinding your teeth at night, which you may not even be aware that you’re doing. They can be purchased at most drugstores.
But the only sure way to prevent meth mouth is to stop using meth.
Help at The Raleigh House
Meth can take over your life in a way that you never would have thought possible. As hard as it may be to imagine, there is a way to break free from the hold it has on you—and to live an interesting, happy and full life. At The Raleigh House, we tackle not only the physical aspect of addiction, but also the mental, emotional, spiritual and social effects. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the crystal meth addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.