Dental Health Info Article

How Drug Use Impacts Dental

Americans have a love hate relationship with drugs and the problem could be a side effect of mixed messages being disseminated in regards to the tonics. The airways are filled with advertisements from pharmaceutical companies promoting magic pills for everything from erectile dysfunction to bone loss. Alcohol has been found to be more dangerous than cocaine or heroin yet it is legal and the government is still hesitant to admit that the infamous war on drugs has been a dismal failure. Despite the confusion, one thing is for sure; when it comes to some drugs, some are worse than others, and legal or not, many of them can wreak havoc on dental health.

Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that 8 percent of every American over the age of 12 has taken illicit drugs in the past month. Combined with the fact that nearly half of all Americans are taking prescription drugs for chronic health conditions and that a Time Magazine report from 2007 indicated that annually Americans drink enough to consume seven bottles of liquor, 12 bottles of wine and 230 cans of beer for each and every citizen, it is increasingly important for consumers to educate themselves on dental problems that can be caused by drug use. 1-800-DENTIST presents three of the most common.

Marijuana and Gum Disease

Regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, marijuana is an integral part of society. Within literature, music, movies and television shows there are thousands of references to the substance. The United Nations World Drug Report from 2010 cited that cannabis "is the most widely used illicit substance in the world," and studies have found that pot is less harmful to society, the health care system and the economy than alcohol. The herb has legitimate uses as a medicine and may provide a potential revenue stream if legalized and taxed. The compound has also been scientifically proven to increase the odds of habitual smokers developing gum disease.

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that habitual pot-smoking had a strong connection to developing gum disease at age 32. The research surrounding the findings took into account other periodontal disease causes like smoking tobacco and lackluster oral hygiene. Once the playing field was leveled, it was found that 32-year-old study participants who were heavy pot smokers were 60 percent more likely to show evidence of gum disease than their non pot smoking counterparts.

The increase in gum disease is not only associated with the smoking behavior, it can potentially be linked to the effects of the drug. Food cravings called "munchies" may cause a pot smoker to eat known smile killers such as candy and soda pop, cause dry mouth or the sensation of being high can cause pot smokers to neglect their daily practices of brushing and flossing. Regardless of the reasons, the more pot consumed, the great the odds of developing gum disease.

Meth Mouth

Methamphetamine is a growing problem in the nation. According to estimates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 10 million Americans have tried meth and more than 1.4 million are habitual users. Regardless of if they call the substance speed, chalk or ice, the highly addictive stimulate can create unappealing and unhealthy meth mouth that can make even the most skilled dentist recoil in fear.

Meth mouth is a nickname for the high rate of tooth decay caused by the illicit drug and abuse of the substance will cause an addict to have teeth that are blackened, stained, rotting and crumbling. The dental problems are not caused directly by meth use, but instead are a side effect of the high. The psycho stimulant can cause a user to increase negative behaviors such as teeth grinding, forgetting to drink liquids, which will cause chronic dry mouth and can result in putting dental care way on the back burner, behind the smoldering crack pipe.

Tetracycline Stains

The antibiotic, Tetracycline, is an important medicine to fight bacterial infections. The antibiotic is commonly prescribed to fight conditions such as acne, pink eye and urinary tract infections. There is no arguing the benefits of this important medicine, but too much of the cure can create unsightly smiles courtesy of Tetracycline stains.

According to 1-800-DENTIST, "Tetracycline teeth stains develop on permanent teeth while they are still forming under the gum line. During development, the drug becomes calcified in the tooth, generating tetracycline tooth stains." Children are susceptible to the condition until the age of eight and it can be spotted by unsavory-looking gray, brown or yellow tooth discolorations. Because Tetracycline stains occur during the development of permanent teeth, no amount of tooth bleaching or brushing will remove the discoloration as the off-colors are embedded into tooth enamel. Cosmetic dentistry and dental veneers may be the only way to hide the sorry state.

If you are an individual concerned that your drug consumption has negatively impacted your dental health, 1-800-DENTIST can put you on the right path to oral redemption. All you need to do is call one of our customer service representatives and they will provide you with the contact information for a great dentist happy to assist on your journey to dental health recovery.