Drugs and Oral Health

It is important to be aware that at even as young of an age as 14, our children can be exposed to drugs through many avenues. Be proactive and have a talk with your child about the many negative effects drugs have on their health.

An aspect of substance use that should not be overlooked, is its negative impact on your mouth and teeth. Whether recreational or prescription drugs are being used, it is important to understand and be aware of the effect on your oral and overall health.

Listed below are a few common recreational and prescription drugs and the effects they have on oral health.

Recreational Drugs

  • Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco products increases your risk of gum disease, and mouth and throat cancers. It can also stain your teeth and cause bad breath.
  • Cannabis: Can cause dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.
  • Alcohol: Can cause tooth erosion due to alcohol’s acidity.
  • Ecstasy: Causes clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaw. It is also known to cause dry mouth.
  • Methamphetamine: The drug is highly acidic and causes severe tooth erosion in a short period of time. This condition is commonly known as “Meth Mouth.”
  • Heroin: Aside from many of its ill-effects to your health, use of Heroin may cause cravings for sweet and sugary foods. If oral hygiene is neglected, you may face a higher risk of tooth decay.

Prescription Drugs

Listed below are a few prescription drugs used to control medical conditions that have been most commonly known to cause dry mouth. A dry mouth leads to a higher risk of tooth decay. If you use of one these medications and/or experience dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dental provider.  Your dental provider or doctor might recommend products that stimulate flow of saliva.

  • Antihypertensive (Medications to treat High Blood Pressure)
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Antipsychotic
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain medications

Listed below are prescription drugs that have been known to cause gum overgrowth. If you are taking any of these medications, make sure you are thorough with your daily plaque removal/ oral hygiene.

  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Antihypertensive
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Immunosuppressants

Tobacco Use

Smoking affects your mouth in many ways.  It causes stained teeth and bad breath.  More importantly, smoking and smokeless tobacco increase your risk for oral/pharyngeal cancer and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss.  It also causes slow healing from dental surgery.

Overall, smoking is bad for your health.  The only way to decrease your risk of these and other related tobacco-related health problems is to quit.  If you need help with quitting, click here.