What to Know About Meth Mouth

Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful drug that causes an intense rush of euphoria. People who take meth can focus intensely and experience increased energy. Enhanced sexual feelings and a false sense of confidence are also common when using meth. With these effects, it’s easy to see why meth is addictive, and why it is so difficult to quit. However, abusing meth also leads to a wide range of disastrous problems.

Side Effects of Meth Abuse

With prolonged meth abuse, a user will suffer extreme loss of cognitive functions such as memory and decision-making skills — a loss that might be permanent. Meth addiction also makes feeling pleasure impossible, and psychotic behavior that includes aggression and hallucination is likely.

Physically, meth abuse causes distinct symptoms that drastically alter a person’s appearance. Acne, sores, poorly healed scabs and poor skin quality are extremely common. Meth mouth sores, more frequently known as meth mouth, are another common side effect.

What Causes Meth Mouth?

Meth mouth symptoms include broken or rotted teeth, and pronounced brown discoloration. This decay can occur even after a short time abusing meth. Teeth damaged by meth often cannot be saved. Although the precise reasons meth abusers develop meth mouth are still unclear, a wide variety of independent research suggests a range of contributing factors.

Methamphetamine causes several reactions that result in meth mouth. Meth dries the salivary glands, which reduces the mouth’s ability to clean away acids — acids that eat away the tooth’s protective enamel and cause decay. Meth abusers also grind their teeth in a condition known as bruxism. Bruxism, especially when combined with weakened teeth, can end in profound decay. Because methamphetamine constricts the blood vessels, the mouth gets less blood flow and less nutrients to repair damage.

Meth abusers are also less likely to eat nutritious foods. This is because methamphetamine is a stimulant that kills appetite. A meth abuser might look gaunt, and alternate between exhaustion and mania. Junky or sugary foods help fuel the mania, but also worsen the dental problems. And because methamphetamine may contain dangerous chemicals such as ammonia, lithium or red phosphorus, frequent exposure to these corrosive substances can damage teeth further.

Who Suffers the Most?

A user can smoke, inject and snort meth. How the user takes meth effects the severity of meth mouth, according to the Journal of Periodontology. Although all meth abusers develop some form of meth mouth, people who snort the drug demonstrated “significantly worse tooth decay,” according to PBS Frontline.

Identifying Meth Mouth

Advanced meth mouth is obvious to the casual observer, and you can quickly determine if the condition is present by noticing a few signs. If you’re concerned that someone you care about is abusing meth, watch for:

  • Unexplained surface tooth decay that progresses rapidly
  • Unexplained changes in appetite bordering on anorexia
  • Violent changes in mood, from manic euphoria to exhausted depression

If these symptoms sound familiar, or if you would like more information about meth abuse, contact 12 Keys Rehab for more information.

The Addiction Blog