by Sepi Fatahi DMD
The regular use of illegal drugs can also cause significant tooth damage. Drugs that pose a significant risk to your oral health are:
* Cannabis – This can cause dry mouth and can lead to an increased risk of gum problems. The smoke can cause oral cancer.
* Cocaine – Users sometimes rub cocaine over their gums which causes ulceration of gums and the underlying bone. When cocaine mixes with saliva it creates an acidic solution which erodes tooth enamel. Cocaine and crack cocaine cause dry mouth, which further increases the risk of tooth decay. Often users will grind their teeth (bruxism) which causes the teeth to wear down.
* Ecstasy – Side effects of the drug include bruxism (tooth grinding), jaw clenching and dry mouth.
* Heroin – Often users can crave sweet foods, which can increase the risk of tooth decay if dental hygiene is neglected. Heroin can also cause dry mouth and bruxism (tooth grinding).
* Methamphetamine – This drug causes severe and rapid tooth decay. Dental professionals have coined the term ‘meth mouth’ to describe the extensive damage typically caused by this drug. Methamphetamine is highly acidic and attacks tooth enamel. Other side effects include dry mouth, bruxism and jaw clenching.