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Can Meth Really Rot Your Teeth?

A young man notices damage to his teeth caused by habitual methamphetamine use.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal, Tina, and speed, among other names) gives the user an incredible euphoria sense. Through a staggering release of dopamine—sometimes more than 10 times higher than from other pleasurable activities—the user also feels increased.

  • Focus
  • Confidence in physical appearance
  • Sexuality

In a cruel bit of irony, several of the drug’s harmful side effects actively work to damage your physical appearance. A typical physical attribute of someone abusing meth is extreme tooth decay or “meth mouth.”

Why Does Meth Rot Your Teeth?

There is some question over how much of the meth teeth phenomenon is directly attributable to the drug itself versus some common side effects. The chemicals present in methamphetamine have some corrosive properties that can strip away tooth enamel, your teeth’ protective outer layer. The body doesn’t replenish it when it’s damaged. Several side effects contribute to the problem, too:

  • Dried out salivary glands
  • Habitual teeth grinding (common among meth users)
  • Binging on sugary drinks and foods which often goes hand in hand with the drug binges
  • Neglected dental hygiene

All these things actively work to break down your tooth enamel. Also, blood vessels all over your body, including your mouth, constrict and may eventually die. Without healthy blood flow, your body can’t maintain itself. The amount of damage can vary wildly from user to user as no two cases of meth abuse are exactly alike.

Meth Use Causes More Than Just Meth Mouth

As we previously noted, blood and tissue damage occurs everywhere with meth use. Your skin may lose elasticity and begin sagging. Acne breakouts are common, and sores can linger. Meth drives you to burn the candle at both ends—boosting your energy levels while suppressing your appetite. Malnutrition and poor hygiene habits are other contributing factors to your rapidly deteriorating health and appearance.

The physical damage is bad enough on its own, but the drug destroys the mind just as thoroughly. Changes in your brain chemistry can damage your dopamine receptors, so the only way to feel pleasure comes from more drug use. While some studies show these areas can heal at least partially if not entirely, you might suffer from long-term behavioral changes and psychotic episodes, including:

  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Obsessive or binging behavior

Impaired memory, judgment, and coordination could be permanent consequences, and you might die from overdose or complications involved with the side effects.

Meth Addiction Rehab Near Palmdale, CA

If you’re currently struggling with addiction to methamphetamine, you might not have experienced some of these devastating side effects yet. However, meth builds tolerance quickly, requiring you to take more and more to get the same result each time. Thankfully, it’s not too late to reach out for help.

The compassionate, experienced team at Cycles of Change is here for you. No two cases are alike, and we will meet with you to find the right treatment plan for your needs. With proven treatments and supplemental programs to address your addiction’s emotional, physical, and interpersonal effects, we can provide the resources you need to make a recovery. For a confidential conversation about your case, contact our team today.