The Link Between Drug Use and Oral Health

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Substance addiction and dependence is a common problem that negatively impacts many people’s lives. People may become addicted to alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, shopping, and spending. Millions of Americans have a substance addiction, which grows as the years pass. Substance addiction can lead to physical and psychological harm and cause problems in relationships, career success, financial security, and overall health. It can also affect your oral health.

Drug Use and Your Oral Health

Did you know that drug use can also adversely affect your oral health? From dry mouth to tooth decay, there are several ways that drug use can take a toll on your teeth and gums. Keep reading to learn more about the link between drug use and oral health.

Dry Mouth

One of the most common side effects of drug use is dry mouth. A dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva. Saliva is important because it helps keep your mouth moist and prevents bacteria from growing.

When you don’t have enough saliva, you’re at an increased risk of developing cavities and gum disease. If you’re using drugs, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and combat dry mouth. You may also want to chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy to help stimulate saliva production.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is another common side effect of drug use. Drugs notorious for causing tooth decay to include methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and heroin. These drugs cause tooth decay because they increase acid levels in the mouth, breaking down tooth enamel.

In addition, people who use these drugs often have poor oral hygiene habits, increasing their risk for tooth decay if they use any drugs, brush and floss regularly, and see their dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

Woman with tooth pain

Gum Disease

Gum disease is another way drug use can affect oral health. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease, but other drugs—such as methamphetamines and crack cocaine—can also increase your risk. If you’re using any drug, you must see your dentist regularly so they can catch any early signs of gum disease and treat it accordingly.

It’s also essential to replace missing teeth to reduce the chances of gum disease. Exposed gums are more prone to infection and inflammation, so replacing missing teeth can help protect your gums. You can visit a teeth replacement service to do this for you. They can install implants made of metal or plastic that look like your natural teeth and keep gums healthy.

Ways to Stop Drug Addiction

Stopping drug addiction is vital if you worry about your physical, mental, and oral health. Here are ways you can do that:

Seek Professional Help

The first step to overcoming addiction is to seek professional help from doctors and counselors specializing in drug abuse recovery. Research shows that people who receive professional help have a much higher chance of recovering from their addiction than those who try to do it independently. Professional service can also provide guidance and support during this challenging time.

Woman and getting a counseling session

Develop Coping Skills

Drugs may temporarily numb the pain of difficult emotions, but they aren’t a solution for long-term healing. To deal with the root causes of your addiction, you must develop healthy coping skills such as relaxation techniques, exercise, journaling, or talking with close friends and family members about how you feel. These activities will help you manage stress levels more effectively without relying on drugs or alcohol as an escape route.

Change Your Environment

Your environment can encourage or discourage your recovery process—so choose wisely! Surround yourself with people who want the best for you and create positive habits by engaging in activities such as volunteering or joining a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Getting involved in these activities will give you purpose and keep you away from triggers that could lead back to drug use.

Take Care of Your Health

Physical health is just as crucial as mental well-being when recovering from addiction—so take care of both! Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get enough sleep every night, and avoid situations where drugs or alcohol are present. In addition, taking care of your physical health will make it easier over time for you to resist the urge to use drugs again if faced with temptation in the future.

Drug addiction is a severe problem that can have long-term effects on your physical and mental health and oral health. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance addiction, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Plenty of resources are available to those seeking recovery from drug abuse. With the proper support, anyone can overcome their addiction and live a healthier, happier life.  ​

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