Meth Mouth – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Meth mouth refers to the severe damage onto the mouth due to methamphetamine abuse. Methamphetamine is of highly addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system. It is snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected and is also known by its different street names such as crank, ice, crystal meth and speed, to name just a few. Meth contains components that are naturally corrosive by themselves, such as sulfuric acid, red phosphorous and lye. However, some contend that people who use meth will not necessarily have dental problems due to the substance itself. Instead, the problems stem from poor oral hygiene and meth addicts are more susceptible to developing severe oral and dental health problems due to meth abuse.
What are the effects of meth on oral health?
Meth dehydrates the body thus encouraging you to drink beverages high in sugar content like soft drinks and soda eventually leading to the drying of mouth. Moreover, meth addicts lose their appetite and instead long for more energy which they get from sugary beverages. Meth addiction also promotes deteriorating effects on one’s lifestyle. Most addicts disregard the importance of oral hygiene resulting to dental and gum infections. In addition, addicts consume less nutritious foods; while restlessness also weakens their immune system which makes it hard to fight gum diseases.
What are the symptoms of Meth mouth?
Symptoms often include progressive and extensive tooth decay, dry mouth, gingivitis and tooth abscesses. Oftentimes, these are associated with malaise, fever, nausea and headaches. Severe jaw grinding leads to jaw aches and neck aches. Other symptoms include teeth abrasion, broken teeth, bad breath, recurrent ANUG (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis) and severe tooth ache.
Meth Mouth Treatment
Meth mouth treatment basically depends on the extent of dental problem of the meth addict. Generally, the patient must follow treatment guidelines which include proper oral hygiene and timely follow-up checkups as well as regular tooth brushing. Use of mouth rinses or washes may be recommended to speed up the healing process. Along with these, the following actions may also be recommended.
• Quit taking meth drug
Needless to say, treatment won’t be successful unless meth abuse is completely stopped. There is little to no improvement at all if the drug use is not ceased.
• Treat ANUG
ANUG treatment largely involves preventing the damage to advance to the gingiva or complete teeth bone loss. This condition is characterized by bone loss together with abscesses in the exterior of the gingiva. Hence, sub-gingival cleaning is undertaken to eradicate anaerobic pathogens while good oral hygiene helps speed up the recovery process.
• Dry Mouth treatment
Dry mouth makes the teeth more favorable to dental carries. So it is also important to treat dry mouth. Again, quitting the habit is the first step to make dry mouth treatment a success. Aside from taking dry mouth medications, your dentist may also advice you to take artificial saliva secretion-drugs.
• Dental fillings
This treatment procedure is done when the teeth damage is still in its early stages. But because of poor oral hygiene by meth addicts, root canal is often done together with tooth abscesses treatment.
Meth mouth is not only the debilitating effect of meth addiction. Complete drug rehabilitation is needed to save your life or that of your loved one from the deadly consequences of meth abuse.