How Does Drug Abuse Affects Oral Health in Adolescents?

Oral health plays an important role in routine life. Good oral hygiene helps build a person’s self-confidence through how they smile, and good dental health helps you stay away from pain. Brushing twice a day does not just suffice for good health; one also needs to have a great lifestyle to maintain dental hygiene at its best. Drug abuse is one such factor that affects oral health, and it needs to be taken care of, especially in the case of adolescents. In this blog, we are trying to learn more about how drug abuse affects oral health in the long run.

Drug Abuse and Dental Health

Constant and regular use of drugs can damage the tooth and cause it to fall out. The use of drugs can also reduce the flow of saliva in the mouth, which causes dry mouth. When the flow of saliva stops, it initiates a breeding ground for tooth decay, and this is because when the saliva is not there, the mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, increases the acid that causes decay, stops remineralization, and will have food particles in between teeth.

Read to know: Common Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Drugs That Affect Teeth And Gums

  • Methamphetamine

The drug is also known as “crystal meth” and causes the most destruction in the mouth. It wears down the teeth and gums, turning them black. The teeth along the cheeks will decay over time. Meth has a high composition of acidic elements, and it wears off the enamel of the tooth. The person who is consuming meth will have constant sugar cravings.

  • Ecstasy (MDMA)

MDMA causes dry mouth and causes all the issues that have been discussed before. A dry mouth causes a spontaneous increase in the number of cavities and also causes intense gum issues. Bruxism is another issue caused by the frequent consumption of MDMA; this is another name for tooth grinding, and it causes immense jaw pain.

  • Cocaine

Cocaine is usually rubbed directly onto the gums, and this will cause a direct impact on the gums and also affect the jaw bone and cause pain. Frequent use of cocaine will make the palate taste bad. People who snort cocaine over time can also be subjected to palatal perforation, which damages the tissue between the roof of the mouth and the nose and creates a hole. This makes it hard to speak, eat, and drink.

  • Cannabis

Smoking cannabis for a prolonged period will have detrimental effects on the overall effect and also cause major problems when it comes to dental health. Continuous use can also cause much more serious issues, like stomatitis, which results in inflammation in the mouth and lips, and gum overgrowth. The effects of cannabis and its dreadful impact on prolonged use are still a subject of research, and in the coming years, more understanding will be gained on the subject.

  • Alcohol

Alcohol is legal and widely consumed. Consuming alcohol at an early age, especially during adolescence, influences oral health in unacceptable ways. But regular consumption of alcohol can cause an effective increase in the number of bacteria in the mouth and throw off the entire balance in the mouth. Alcohol disrupts the entire balance of oral microbes and causes gum infections, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

  • Tobacco

Tobacco is a substance that is easily available to adolescents, and its regular use destroys the overall health of a person and especially affects an adolescent’s body with a high negative impact. It is the main cause of staining the teeth, plaque formation, and mouth cancer in adolescents and adults alike. Daily smoking habits can affect the gums as they lower the amount of oxygen in the mouth, which results in severe gum inflammation and infection. Dulled sense of taste and the loss of the foundational bone structure of the mouth are other major implications of using tobacco in the long run.

Read to Know: How Smoking Affects Your Teeth?

How Can One Treat The Dental Problems Caused By Substance Use?

The health issues can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on how intensely the person consumed those drugs and the length of time of substance abuse. The first step will be to go to a dentist and confirm what issues the person is facing when it comes to oral health. According to the dentist’s findings, a treatment plan is devised. And the possible treatments include:

  • Root Canal
  • Deep cleaning to remove plaque
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Dental Implants
  • Aligning with the help of braces
  • Tooth Bonding

If a person expects to see long-lasting results from the dental treatments performed, the patient needs to stop the use of drugs, start with proper dental hygiene, and keep up with those practices. A good oral hygiene practice will include brushing twice, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing and flossing.

Understanding how drug abuse affects oral health may help you keep your mouth healthy. Once these measures are implemented effectively, there will be a definite change in the overall well-being of the body, not just oral health. The lost image and confidence can be regained in no time.

Read similar: Dental Implant: Useful Tips To Increase Their Longevity

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