Illegal Drugs and Dental Health: A Guide

Posted on: 17 September 2021

This article is a guide that explores the topic of dentistry and drug addiction. Drug addiction is not only a mental issue; it also affects a person's physical and dental health. This article examines how drugs affect the mouth and teeth and how dental professionals handle these cases. Read on to find out more.

Drug use can help to create the ideal conditions for dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Below is a guide to four of these situations.

Having a dry mouth

Drugs such as amphetamine and opiates can cause you to experience a dry mouth by reducing saliva production. Salvia plays a key role in combating tooth decay by increasing saliva and demineralising your teeth, but when you take drugs, your saliva production is reduced. Drug addicts often experience a dry mouth and can become prone to cavities and infections.


Drug addiction may also cause you to engage in risky behaviours such as smoking drugs such as crack cocaine and methamphetamines as well as cigarettes. Smoking can damage the mouth and gums by staining and weakening teeth and drying out the soft membranes in your mouth.

Tooth grinding

Many drug addicts suffer from tooth grinding while they sleep. This often leads to the teeth wearing down and eventually cavities form in the enamel of the teeth. Tooth grinding can also cause hairline fractures to form in the teeth. Another negative effect of tooth grinding is that it may lead to inflammation of the joint that connects your jaw. The pain caused by this condition could offset any benefits that the drug may be provided, so drug addicts should consult their dental professional to see if they can be treated for their tooth grinding. A dentist may provide a mouth guard which will help to protect your teeth.

Not eating properly

Drug addicts often eat poorly, which can lead to dental caries (tooth decay). Salt and sugar are often added to food in order to make it more palatable for drug addicts, this can increase the risk of tooth decay. Lack of calcium is also common amongst drug addicts. If you do not consume enough calcium, it can lead to weakened teeth and increased levels of decay. A dentist may be able to prescribe calcium supplements to help prevent this issue.

If you would like to find out more about this subject, you should contact your local dentist today.