Meth mouth is the nightmare of pretty much every dentist. Almost all meth users often have cavities, whereas about 31% have missing teeth. Also, only 23% have all of their natural teeth, as opposed to the 48% of the rest of the population. Tooth decay is quite serious in meth users and seeing the first signs of meth mouth will tell you exactly when you have to get help.
Methamphetamine (or simply, meth) is an illegal substance that is highly addictive and causes immediate euphoria along with a rush of energy. Its parent drug is amphetamine, a substance that was used in order to treat asthma and allergies. Another version of amphetamine was used during World War II, to help keep the soldiers energized and suppress their appetite.
Today’s methamphetamine is a more potent version of amphetamine – one that has longer-term effects, but also more side effects. These side effects caused meth to be deemed illegal.
A person using meth can feel irritability, weight loss, paranoia, liver damage, lower immunity, dental problems, and many more. Because of the multiple side effects on the market, meth is considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs out there.
Meth mouth is a condition that very often appears on people that are addicted to meth. The condition causes tooth decay that worsens throughout the passing years. A person that started consuming meth in their 20s will likely have severe tooth decay in their 30s.
Meth mouth affects the gum and the teeth alike. There are multiple stages of meth mouth as well, each being more difficult to fix than the last:
During the initial stage of meth mouth, you will see the first signs of cavities, which will likely appear all over the teeth. There will be multiple black spots over the tooth. The bad breath will make itself known, and the gum tissue will also show signs of being affected. It will begin to appear slightly swollen and affected.
During the second stage of meth mouth, things will get significantly worse. The cavities will grow bigger, and the teeth might also start to chip. The lips will show dental lesions, and the gums will begin to recede.
The final stage of meth mouth is when your oral health will be at its worse. The teeth will have decayed all the way to the gum line, and many of the teeth will be missing. The dental lesions will be much more obvious during this stage.
What Causes Meth Mouth?
There are several factors that lead to the formation of meth mouth. Here are the usual suspects when it comes to meth mouth:
- The effect (i.e., “buzz”) of meth usually lasts for around 12 hours. During that time, the meth user would crave sugary stuff, such as candy or soda.
- A meth user would often grind or clench their teeth. Over time, this can cause great wear, as the activity will erode through their teeth.
- Meth can cause your mouth to dry out. Because of this, the protective layer of your teeth may also thin out.
- Meth has quite an acidic content. Common ingredients added to meth often include fertilizer, battery acid, and cleaning agents used in the household. One can imagine that a combination of these substances will do no good to the teeth.
- Meth addicts are not very keen on keeping their teeth clean, especially when under the influence. They will not brush their teeth or floss for days in a row. With time, this may lead to a lot of dental damage.
Depending on your consumption level of meth, it may take about one year for the first signs of meth mouth to show. This is often the case for extensive use of the street drug. Meth mouth is incurable, the only solution being to remove the decayed teeth and replace them with implants.
Treatment For Meth Addiction
Knowing that meth mouth is irreversible, the best way to do some damage control is to stop consuming meth. If you stop early, you will perhaps only have a few cavities to fill and some professional cleaning to do. That being said, meth has a high potential for addiction, meaning that you will have to address your addiction first.
Considering the power of the drug, treatment is very often quite difficult. There is no specific treatment for meth, so assisted detox needs to be provided to the patient. Behavioral treatment will also be given, to prevent a meth relapse.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, some may only need outpatient therapy, with perhaps some group or individual therapy to help their recovery. However, a severe case might need outpatient therapy instead, as it offers 24/7 supervision. This will take away the temptation while ensuring the doctors are nearby at all times.
Recovery at Real Deal
At Real Deal Therapy and Wellness, we have various tools to help streamline your recovery. Whether you need inpatient or outpatient therapy, we can help you get over your meth addiction. This way, you can stop the spread of meth mouth before it gets any worse.
Aside from detox, Real Deal will also help with your recovery in the long term. Behavioral treatment will be introduced to relieve the cravings, and a new diet will be instilled to improve the overall body and oral health. The more your health recovers, the more you should be able to shift your focus into restoring your teeth.
Meth mouth can be expensive to deal with, especially if you have been consuming meth for a long time. However, meth reviver can at least help you press pause on the damage, enough so that you can do some damage control. The earlier you stop your meth consumption, the more teeth you should be able to save.
So, contact us right now so that we can help you on your road to a meth-free life. You’ll have our support all along the way.