In a previous article we wrote, we highlighted the importance of proper dental care when an individual is a recovering drug addict. This extends to all types of drugs, even the well-known meth that continues to plague our Nation. We’re here to be frank and speak freely right? There are many reasons why people get caught up in these drug addicted situations however, just the same, there are many ways to help them get out of it. Any method you can think of isn’t going to be as successful if professional dental healthcare is not being implemented.
Why is this this important?
Previous studies have shown that professional dental care, coupled with a rigorous drug addiction recovery process helps the patient increase their odds of success. As such, it’s important to bring attention to the positive impacts of oral care while a drug abuser is recovering from Methamphetamines. You can learn more about oral care here.
According to a report in the American Addiction Centers, they highlighted how the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted their research in 2014. According to their numbers, over 10.2% of America’s population, 12 and older, is taking part in some form of illicit drug abuse. It’s important to note that this report also includes alcohol drinking as one of those forms, however, our context today is in relations to Meth addiction. Not just in general terms but also it’s affects on your oral health and the solutions, remedies or methods to help a Meth abuser get over their addiction.
What does Methamphetamines do to your oral health?
There are multiple oral side effects that are attributed to Meth but not limited to just Meth. These side effects can also come about from other substance abuse; however, for the sake of our conversation, this is what you can expect from Meth abuse.
Acid Reflux: This disease, which some are making the argument that it may be associated with an autoimmune disease, is one that begins to rot the enamel. Additionally, it damages the soft tissue in the throat and mouth, while increasing the amount of bad breath your body can produce.
Dry Mouth: This side effect can cause an increase in the acidity in your oral surface. This increase can cause a weakening of the enamel, eventually leading to cavities or even a cracked tooth. Unfortunately, when your enamel is weakened, the tooth can crack over what is normally a seeming less uneventful pizza dinner. That’s right! That pizza crust can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Ulcers and Sores: Meth can cause ulcers in the mouth, which can be prone to an infection if it’s not properly treated. Similarly, meth can also lower your immune system which, if you’re infected with a herpes virus, can cause an outbreak that could further be infected.
Teeth Grinding and Loss of Blood Flow: Meth consumption can cause your teeth to grind while you sleep and even at times when you’re awake. This can damage the enamel and further expose it to cavities that rot the tooth. Additionally, it can cause a loss or greatly reduce the blood flow to the root of your tooth and surrounding gums.
Mis-Prioritization: Unfortunately, in most cases of drug addiction, an addict would be more interested in getting their next fix. Meth addict are no different, their determination to find their next fix will cause them to neglect the oral health and forget all about basic oral hygiene even after they display cracked or damaged teeth.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutrition is a very integral part of our oral heath and in some cases, even our overall health. After all, our mouth is where our nutrition begins right? So why not treat our oral care as good as we take care of other parts of our bodies? Meth can decrease the nutrition that goes to your body. This causes a diminishing of nutrition to your mouth and gums. Which in turn, causes more weakening of your gums and enamel.
Solutions, Remedies and Methods:
Getting off drugs for an addict is very painful and difficult, in many cases that I’ve encountered, some had to do it cold turkey and needed their current environment to change completely. In other cases, a gradual approach had to be taken to be more successful. In any way that I’ve heard of or experienced, some of the most successful rehabilitations included a dental plan to help them get back on track with their smile and self-confidence.
There are no specific solutions that is a one-size-fits-all and similarly, there are no remedies that are universal. The methods differ between person to person but when you provide proper dental care with mind and body health care, the results have been known to be astounding!
If you or a family member have a drug addiction problem, it is wise to find a dentist in your area that understands the dilemma you are in and is interested in helping.