Methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive drug that has profound effects on the body. These effects can range from mental health problems to what is known as meth mouth. But what is meth mouth? To understand what it is and how it can affect a person, it is best if you know what meth is and how it is addictive. This drug can be detrimental not only to the users overall well-being and health, but their dental health as well.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is an extremely addictive stimulant drug. It has effects on the central nervous system and comes in an odorless, white, crystal form. Originally developed and used in nasal decongestants and inhalers, meth can cause a spike in energy levels and talkativeness, suppress appetite, and cause a sense of euphoria in the user.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified this drug as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, which could lead to physical and psychological dependence and addiction. Long-term use can lead to paranoia, psychosis, changes in brain structure and functionality, memory loss, and severe dental problems. These are just a few of the long-term effects of methamphetamine use.
What Makes Meth Addictive?
In 2020, 2.6 million people aged 12 and older, in the United States reported that they had used meth in the last 12 months, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). That is a staggering number. What makes meth so addicting is how it affects the pleasure sensors in the brain. Using this drug can inhibit natural pleasure sensors, and make it so that the main source of dopamine comes from using the drug. Meth can cause changes in the brain’s chemical and structural make-up, and with prolonged use, it can be extremely difficult to stop this drug without some sort of an intervention. The drug leads to a physical and mental dependence in people who use it, as the body becomes accustomed to the effects. When “meth mouth” is apparent, it’s probably a good idea to seek detox and professional help.
What is Meth Mouth?
With prolonged use, users can develop what is known as meth mouth. You may ask yourself what is meth mouth? The answer is simple. Meth mouth refers to the general and overall serious effects that methamphetamine can have on oral health. It is often seen in meth addiction that the addicted person’s teeth progressively get worse, this can begin with staining and lead all the way up to extreme tooth decay and loss. Symptoms of meth mouth can include swollen and red gums, dry mouth, discoloration, bleeding gums, and cracked, chipped, or hollowed teeth.
How Meth Ruins Your Teeth
Loved ones often wonder what meth mouth is, and what causes it. What meth mouth does is causes changes in the mouth that lead to long term, mostly irreversible damage, and this damage leads to devastating results in the oral look and health of the person using meth. What causes meth mouth? Well here are some of the reasons using meth causes meth mouth.
The use of meth causes the mouth to become dry. The salivary glands that produce saliva are inhibited, and this makes it so the protection of the moisture in saliva is then lost. Saliva production is vital to keeping teeth protected from acids eating away at tooth enamel.
Being that meth is an acidic drug, when the mouth dries out, these acids eat away at the enamel of the teeth. Meth mouth allows for these acidic chemicals to cause severe tooth decay.
Meth use causes teeth clenching and grinding. The increased heart rate caused by this stimulant drug causes users to become hyperactive. Users often begin to, subconsciously, grind their teeth. Because the acids in the drug eat away tooth enamel, it makes them brittle. This teeth grinding often leads to cracked and broken teeth.
Another component of meth mouth is the cravings for sugary drinks and candies. The drug causes appetite suppression, leading to weight loss. But, the cravings for sugar are heightened. Sugary drinks and candies lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Lack of Dental Hygiene
Often, meth addiction leads an individual to not care for their overall health and oral health. The main concern is getting the next high, not brushing and flossing. This only leads to worsening decay and tooth loss.
Getting Help for Meth Addiction in Nashville, TN
If you or a loved one are struggling with meth addiction, receiving help is the best thing you could do. The long and short term effects of this drug can lead to life altering changes, and stopping the use as soon as possible is crucial to being able to stop the permanent changes from happening. There is hope for a better life free of addiction. Here at Brentwood Springs we offer a safe and comfortable space to begin your journey to a new life. We have a team of professionals to help you as you begin your journey. Contact us today and give yourself this gift of a new life.