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Effects Of Drugs And Alcohol In The Oral Cavity

1555 words - 7 pages

From the beginning of time drugs and alcohol have been a part of society for both medicinal and recreational use. Although alcohol has been around since as early as 10,000 B.C. other harmful drugs such as methamphetamine have gained popularity in the past few decades. There are also prescription drugs that are as harmful and addictive as street drugs when taken continuously in large doses over time such as Dilantin. This report will discuss in depth the long term damage of drug and alcohol abuse in the oral cavity.

Methamphetamine is not a new drug, although it has become more powerful in recent years as the process for producing meth has evolved. It is reported that approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 have used methamphetamine at least once and 529,000 of those are regular users. Methamphetamine is extremely addictive.

Methamphetamine is made in part from common items such as Lye, Iodine, Drano, brake fluid and Sudafed. Because Meth is produced several different ways it can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed to get the drug into your system. Regardless the route of administration this drug will cause a condition known as meth mouth. This condition is usually more severe with users that inject the drug and is very hard to treat.

Meth mouth is defined as a dental condition that causes severe decay and loss of teeth due to lack of oral hygiene, poor nutrition and eating or drinking too much sugar over an extended period of time. Meth users can also experience mouth sores. These are little white sores that can pop up on the tongue of users that smoke meth. The sores are caused by the combination of highly addictive chemicals used to make meth. Although these sores can be very painful and can ooze they are the least of your worries because meth use can cause your teeth to rot and fall out.

Methamphetamine users sometimes experience soreness in the joint of the jaw due to Dental Attrition (tooth wear) and fracture due to teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism). Bruxism can occur continuously. Long term use of meth can also cause the inability to open the jaw (Trismus). Enamel erosion and other oral problems like dry mouth (xerostomia) will also cause deterioration of teeth. Abusers of meth will most likely experience constant xerostomia.

Treating meth mouth is not easy. It can also be medically dangerous for an active meth user due to cardiac problems that can occur during treatment when combined with local anesthetic and the drug. There are several ways in which a dentist treats the symptoms of meth mouth. To help fight against tooth decay (dental caries) dentist’s will often prescribe fluoride. This can be in the form of high fluoride toothpastes, rinses and/or tablets. Tooth restoration is necessary to rid the tooth of decay but in severe cases the dentist may need to extract a tooth that can not be saved by restoration. Xerostomia can be treated with drugs that increase saliva production in...

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