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Abuse of Drugs Can Put You at Risk for Tooth Decay and Gum Disease


It is not a hidden fact that drugs come with a number of the health consequences. In addition to taking a toll on your mental health, it can also affect the function of other parts of the body. According to a recent study, being addicted to drugs may put you at greater risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease than people without substance use disorders. The results, showed that drug use affects oral health through direct physiological pathways such as dry mouth, increased need for snacking, squeezing and grinding of teeth and chemical erosion of cocaine to the teeth and gums.

The lifestyle that often accompanies problematic drug use also affects oral health through diets rich in sugar, malnutrition, poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental professional care. Patients suffering from substance use disorders also showed increased tooth loss, non-carious tooth loss, and destructive periodontal disease. In addition, tolerance to analgesics and anesthetics also contributes to poor dental care, according to some researchers.

Oral health has an important impact on the quality of life and overall health. In addition to the functional issues and self-esteem problems that accompany bad teeth, chronic inflammation and bacteremia characteristic of poor oral health increases the occurrence of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

The researchers suggested that doctors and physicians should consider people with substance use disorders for oral diseases and make arrangements for dental care if necessary.

“They should consider using sugar-free preparations when prescribing methadone as well as warn patients of the oral health risks associated with dry mouth and cravings for sweet foods,” Baghaie suggested.

For the study, the team combined results from 28 studies worldwide, which collectively provided data on 4,086 dental patients with substance use disorder and 28,031 controls.


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