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How Does Meth Mouth Occur?
Characterized by “severe tooth decay and gum disease, which often causes teeth to break or fall out,” meth mouth is a result of the abuse of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug. Meth is so addictive that it is known for users to become addicted in one use.
Meth has many health consequences, such as brain damage, heart problems, and dental health.
What is Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is the result of heavy methamphetamine use and is known to cause cavities, tooth decay, and missing teeth. The teeth of people addicted who are addicted to methamphetamines typically look blackened, rotted, stained, and falling apart. Typically once a person has reached the stage of meth mouth, they can never go back, and the teeth must be removed. This is due to extensive tooth decay from both psychological and physiological changes of doing drugs.
When using meth, the user obtains dry mouth and long periods of terrible oral hygiene. When going on multiple day benders, the last thing in the mind of an addict is to brush or floss their teeth.
Meth mouth can also lead to damage to an individual’s overall health. This is because it can affect the entire body through blood-borne infections from bacteria or open wounds in the mouth.
What is Meth?
Meth is a shortened term for the street drug methamphetamine, and it is also known as speed, ice, glass, or crystal. Users can take meth by snorting, injecting, or smoking it. Smoking has some of the worst results of meth mouth.
The high of meth gives the user intense pleasure of up to 12 hours. Users often crave sugary beverages while on meth, clench their teeth, and grind teeth. All of these actions, combined with poor hygiene, can lead to meth mouth.
Symptoms of Meth
There are many symptoms that taking meth can cause such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Violent behavior
- Higher risk for HIV and hepatitis by sharing needles
- Lead poisoning
- Meth mite itching (false itching caused by nerve sensitivity)
Meth Mouth Symptoms
The symptoms of meth mouth vary depending on the user. If you are someone who uses a lot of methamphetamines, then you will have a higher risk. Additionally, if you eat foods high in sugar and do not maintain proper oral hygiene, then you will be at a higher risk for bad symptoms.
Meth mouth symptoms include:
- Bad dental hygiene from someone who typically took care of their teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Oddly shortened teeth
- Loose teeth
- Red and inflamed gums
- Gum disease
- Xerostomia (Dry mouth)
- Black rotting teeth
- Bad breath
- Dry tongue
- Broken or crumbled teeth
In 2012, a study was published that compared the oral health of methamphetamine users. An oral cavity examination was completed on 28 meth abusers as well as a group of non-meth users. The meth users had a much higher rate of missing teeth, plaque as well as tooth decay.
What Can I Do If I Have Meth Mouth?
If you have meth mouth, then unfortunately, there is not much you can do. The best option is to seek treatment and stop using meth. If you are not willing to stop using the drug, you will need to focus on your oral health. As an addict, you may never remember to do this because you will be fully consumed by using it.
Be aware that if you do plan to seek dental treatment, you will need to spend at least 24 hours without the drug in your system. This is because dental treatment will often involve pain management, and you need to be free of methamphetamine in your system to do so.
Is Meth Mouth Permanent?
Unfortunately, the successful treatment of meth mouth is very rare. This is because most methamphetamine users have such severe tooth decay that their teeth are damaged with no hope for repair. Typically, when a meth user visits a dentist for meth mouth treatment, full tooth extractions, and replacement of missing teeth will occur.
If I Have Meth Mouth, Does it Mean I am Addicted?
When reaching the stage of having meth mouth, typically, it does mean that you have an addiction. This is because meth mouth does not occur unless you have used the drug excessively.
How Addictive is Methamphetamine?
The drug methamphetamine is extremely addictive. This is because it releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain, which sends reinforcements of pleasure. This means when you take meth, once it is out of your system, your brain will crave to feel that way once again.
Additionally, consistently using meth changes the way your brain operates. Although for the first few uses, it is a personal decision made in the prefrontal cortex. After repeated meth use, the decision becomes involuntary and is made by activating the hindbrain.
Especially because meth causes a physical withdrawal, this means it is physically addictive.
Effects of withdrawal might include:
- Carbohydrate craving
- Craving for the drug
Coping with withdrawal:
- Seeking a medical detox center: This can help to detox under the guide of educated professionals fully.
- Exercise: Exercise and medication will help with anxiety and can help to push the drug out of the symptom quicker.
- Distractions: Typically, cravings for meth will end in about two to five weeks, but during that time, distractions are helpful. You want to avoid thinking about the drug and focusing on the cravings.
- Avoid triggers: If there are certain people who you typically use with or difficult situations that push you to use, you should avoid these. Especially when you are going through withdrawal as you might be more tempted to use again.
- Eat healthy foods: Your appetite might grow immensely after you quit using meth. It is important to eat slowly, and only take in healthy foods. You are at risk for developing an addiction to food to substitute your meth addiction. This means simply to try and eat in moderation.
Meth Mouth and Mental Illness
If you or someone you love has a mental illness and is addicted to meth, this can greatly contribute to obtaining meth mouth. This is because mental illness will put you more into a hole of using and make it even harder to focus on oral hygiene.
Stopping Meth Mouth Before it Gets Worse
Although you may not be able to fix your meth mouth completely, you can prevent it from happening, or getting worse. This means you will need to stop using meth and get into treatment.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer free insurance verification for treatment. This means you will never be surprised when it comes to costs, what your insurance will pay for, and how much you can afford.
To save your mouth from damages that cannot be fixed, you should stop using meth.
If you already have symptoms of meth mouth, after healing your gums, there are always ways to get your teeth back to looking nice.
The use of dentures is very popular.
The most important thing you can do is stop using meth as soon as possible and get help.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer professional assistance to overcome both methamphetamine and crystal meth addiction.
We offer treatment plans to meet your needs and offer a safe situation to get healthy.
Contact us today to hear your options.