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    Just Say No: Drugs Can Affect Your Oral Health

    October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Did you know that many drugs are not just bad for your overall health, but they are also bad for your oral health? Learn about how the following three drugs directly impact your mouth, which indirectly impacts your entire body.


    Also known as “meth” or “crystal meth,” this drug can cause severe dry mouth, which promotes bacteria growth that leads to cavities and gum disease. It’s also highly acidic, causing tooth enamel to erode. People who use meth tend to lack good dental hygiene overall, and typically consume large amounts of sugar and soda due to cravings. They may also grind their teeth. The combination of all of these factors results in severe tooth decay. It is so common in meth users that experts coined the term “meth mouth” to describe the poor dental condition of someone who has been using meth long enough to damage their teeth.[1]


    Researchers believe that smoking marijuana can lead to gum disease in ways that are similar to smoking tobacco. [2] In fact, heavy users are up to seven times more likely to have gum disease than those who don’t smoke marijuana.


    Tobacco, as we know, can do a lot of harm – and not just to the person using it. Specific to oral health, whether you smoking or chewing it, tobacco damages gums and affects the bones and soft tissues in your mouth where they attach to the teeth. Smoking reduces the flow of saliva, which allows bacteria to flourish. And, smokers are more likely to have receding gums, which expose tooth roots and make teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages. Tobacco use also drastically increases the risk for oral cancer.[3]
    If you have an addiction or know someone who does, speak with your doctor to find an appropriate treatment program. Also, discuss any dental issues you experience with your dentist so they can help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
    Throughout October, consider marking this health observance by sharing this information with family and friends. Oral health is a key element to improved overall health, and education is a great place to start.