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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Drug Abuse Destroys Your Mouth

Dr. Vincent Wan


Did you know that drug abuse destroys your mouth?  We all know recreational drug use has many negative consequences.  The classic image is of a person with blood shot eyes and bleeding nose, who is shaking and highly irritable or agitated.  However, it may not be known that drug abuse has significant consequences on your oral health as well.

Drug abuse destroys your mouth by direct physiological pathways.  Drug users often have dry mouth which makes your teeth more prone to breakdown as there is no saliva to fight bacteria, buffer acid and place mineral to repair the teeth.  There is often an increased urge to snack, usually on unhealthy sugary foods, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.  Direct application of drugs such as cocaine to the teeth and gums can cause damage by chemical erosion.  Drug users also tend to clench and grind their teeth, causing them to be worn down and chipped.

Troublesome lifestyle factors of drug users also result in accelerated destruction of the teeth and gums.  Drug users often have a poor diet high in sugar and may even suffer from malnutrition.  They generally don’t look after themselves very well and this extends to the mouth, with poor oral hygiene and seldom visits to the dentist.

Even when they do visit the dentist, dental care can be very difficult.  Besides the fact that many may still be drug affected when they are in the chair, it is typically very challenging to numb the mouths of drug users as they are tolerant to anaesthetics and painkillers.

As well as general medical and lifestyle consequences, drug use destroys your mouth.  Talk to one of our friendly dentists at Central Brisbane Dental if you need more information about drug abuse and its effect on your oral health.