Heroin & Teeth | How Drugs Affect Your Teeth

The dangerous effects of heroin are nothing to smile about—in fact, heroin might leave you without a smile at all. Meth is notorious for causing dental issues (commonly referred to as “meth mouth”), but most people don’t realize that there are other drugs that can also seriously affect oral health. Drugs such as heroin, cause bodily reactions that both, directly and indirectly, cause serious gum and tooth damage. Learn more about heroin & teeth and 

Reduces Saliva Production

Dry mouth is a common side effect of drug use that’s caused by a lack of saliva. This clear, viscous substance plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy mouth as well as proper digestion. Saliva enables us to taste, chew, and swallow; it provides protein and minerals to protect tooth enamel and gums; and it has important bacteria that break down food, preventing bad breath and cavities.

Having too little saliva makes individuals far more prone to tooth decay and gum disease. So while feeling a bit parched may seem fairly innocuous, the cause of this condition is quite alarming. It serves so many important functions that not only impact oral health but overall well-being. If left untreated, low saliva production can quickly go from an unpleasant sensation to something much more serious. 

Cause Clenching of the Jaw

Stimulants are prone to cause users to clench or grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism. This condition has been linked to the central nervous system, a body functionality that is heavily impacted by heroin use. 

Grinding or clenching of the jaw is uncomfortable at best and damaging at its worst. It can lead to weakened teeth or broken teeth, as well as lasting jaw and facial pain. The repeated stress on the teeth can also cause enamel to wear much more quickly, which can expedite tooth decay as well as unattractive physical damages such as chips, fractures, or even loose teeth.

Destroys Tooth Enamel

Heroin is acidic by its pharmacological nature, which can cause vomiting and acid reflux. Both of these physiological functions cause stomach acid to enter the mouth which can deteriorate teeth’s protective enamel. This thin, translucent coating is like a winter coat for each individual tooth. It protects teeth from daily use and insulates them from temperature changes and chemicals. 

Enamel is not regenerative and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Without this protective layer, our teeth become sensitive to hot and cold foods, easily stained, and more susceptible to bacteria and infection. 

Numbs Tooth Pain

Having painkiller properties, heroin and other opioids can contribute to an unhealthy smile by causing you to ignore tooth and gum pain. These are often the first warning signs of serious dental problems like a cavity, infection, abscess, or gum disease. The ramifications of ignoring such serious oral health concerns can quickly result in the discoloration and outright loss of teeth.

The health of your teeth may not be something you think of when you consider the consequences of using heroin, but you should. The extent of the damage can be severe, going much deeper than the mere roots of your teeth, and can be a very costly mistake. Drug use often impacts us in ways we don’t anticipate and waiting until an overdose has occurred to do something about it could put your smile in jeopardy.

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