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Drug abuse and tooth loss

It is confirmed that many drugs, both legal and illicit cause damage to teeth and may also be blamed for compete teeth loss. Healthy teeth and gums basically depend on good oral hygiene and one's diet as well as regular consultations with the dentist. However, drugs, especially if taken for a long period of time, are easily absorbed from the blood and may accumulate in teeth causing damage.

Furthermore, illicit drug abusers are not very interested in their oral hygiene and they mostly do not eat adequately, depriving their body from essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals all of which are essential for maintaining healthy teeth. The mentioned are some of explanations why drug addicts have so much problems regarding their teeth.

Prescribed Medications and Tooth Damage

A variety of prescribed as well as over-the-counter medications may cause damage to teeth and gums. This is reported in case of antihistamines, antihypertensives, Aspirin, asthma medications, chemotherapeutics, immunosuppressants, oral contraceptives, syrups etc.

Also, certain number of drugs may additionally initiate gingival hyperplasia (gum tissue thickening and its growing over the teeth). This is reported in people who take certain antiepileptic drugs, Cyclosporine and some antihypertensives. Calcium channel blockers may also cause gingival hyperplasia.

Alcohol, Nicotine and Tooth Damage

In people who consume alcohol on a daily basis there is reduction in the overall production of saliva, which is detrimental for teeth. Such individuals also pay no sufficient attention to oral hygiene. Smoking, on the other hand, directly stains teeth, contributes to gum problems and is associated with the onset of several malignant tumors of the oral cavity.

Illicit Drugs and Tooth Damage

Almost each and every illicit drug leads to some kind of tooth damage. Intake of some drugs carries more risk for tooth damage, while there are also drugs that may postpone such damage for some time, but teeth eventually lose their previous health and appearance.

Cannabis is, for instance, associated with dry mouth and prolonged use increases risk of gum problems. Smoke of cannabis, similarly to cigarette smoke, is associated with oral cancer.

Cocaine if rubbed onto the gum may eventually cause gum ulcers and damage to the underlying bone. Once mixed with the saliva cocaine forms an acidic solution capable of causing serious damage to both teeth (even deeper layers of each and every tooth) and gum. Additional damage is associated with dry mouth, a consequence of use of pure cocaine or crack cocaine. Finally, tooth wear occurs due to tooth grinding.

Ecstasy can contribute to tooth damage because of tooth grinding commonly reported after taking the drug. The drug is also blamed for jaw clenching and dry mouth.

Heroin addicts may feel uncontrollable need for sweet foods. This and lack of oral hygiene are blamed for rapid tooth decay. Tooth grinding and dry mouth are two more problems heroin addicts commonly face with and which cause even more damage to a person's teeth.

Finally, methamphetamine is associated with rapid tooth decay because of direct damage the drug causes while being inhaled.

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