Meth mouth is one of the most severe dental diseases. It is caused due to the extensive use of methamphetamine drug. There is no clear indication if this drug is the only reason behind this disease. Research has found that the reaction caused by this drug is the reason behind this disease. Meth mouth may cause an irreparable damage to both gums and teeth. It is still not known whether the use of methamphetamine drug alone is responsible for this disease. However, other drugs cause the same symptoms as that of meth mouth disease.
Treating the active methamphetamine users is also very difficult as the reaction of the anesthesia with methamphetamine is associated with heart diseases. There are several other ways through which dentist resolves the issues of the patients suffering from meth mouth disease. Drugs that increase saliva and reduce the tooth decay are advised. Dentists even guide the patients and recommend them all food products they must have in order to avoid poor nutrition and give them tips on increasing their dental hygiene. Several attempts are being made to create awareness about this fatal disease. Images of those who are affected by this disease have been displayed in the drug store to show the effects of the drugs. The disease is incurable and the treatment of this disease is also not cent percent effective. Efforts are being made by dentists to create awareness among people about this disease. This can help in curbing this incurable disease to a great extent.
Causes of Meth mouth:
The actual cause of the Meth mouth disease is not known. The main characteristics that are associated with the meth mouth disease are decaying of the teeth, loss of teeth, fracture, and erosion of enamel. Research suggests that all the symptoms mentioned above are observed in the patients who take methamphetamine drugs. The methamphetamine drugs are not directly responsible for the meth disease, but the reaction or the side-effects of this drug might be the reason for this disease. These reactions include the decrease in saliva formation. This drying of saliva leads to increased oral cavity. Saliva in the mouth helps in neutralizing the acids and bases in the food that one consumes. Reduced salivary gland causes spots to appear on the outer surface of the tooth. The bacterial presence in the mouth may also increase largely than the normal.
In meth mouth disease, teeth tend to lose their shape and appear to be twisted. This characteristic is also associated with the use of methamphetamine drug as it makes the users of this drug grind their teeth. This grinding of teeth leads to the deformed and twisted teeth.
Some of the symptoms that are associated with the meth mouth disease are listed below:
- Dry mouth: Those who suffer from meth mouth disease will have dry mouths. This is because of the interaction of methamphetamine with the salivary gland, which results in the decrease in the production of the saliva and finally stops producing saliva at all.
- Tooth decay: The decrease in the production of the saliva in the mouth leads to decaying of the tooth. Saliva helps in maintaining the oral cavity. The absence of saliva results in the appearance of small spots on the surface of the teeth.
- Gum disease: Extensive use of methamphetamine drug leads to low immunity as a result germs attack the gums and the teeth. In some cases, a condition related to gingival called as ANUG is also observed. ANUG is an acute infection of the gum tissue, which has spread itself further into the periodontal tissues.
- Cracks in teeth: Grinding of teeth is considered the reason behind the occurrence of cracks in teeth.
- Bruxism: Being a stimulant drug, methamphetamine results in the user becoming nervous. It also causes the user to go without sleep for several days.
- Twisted teeth: The twisted teeth are caused while one tries to grind their teeth due to the use of the drug methamphetamine.
Treatment of Meth mouth:
The treatment of meth mouth disease depends completely on the current condition of the teeth. Most of the time patients visit the doctor only after their teeth are severely decayed and no restoration is possible. The first and the most necessary step of the treatment will be to avoid the meth drug. The dental medication and treatment will be of no use if the drug is not removed from the life of the meth mouth patient completely.
The next step is to check the damage done by the meth on the teeth. If the damage is not much and any kind of restoration is possible, then the cavities of the restored tooth are filled. This restoration can be done in three different ways:
- Dental crowns: All the restored teeth are enclosed and a new surface is provided to them.
- Porcelain inlays or outlays: Each tooth is held strongly after filling all the cavities of different sizes and structures.
- Tooth-colored fillings: The fillings are bonded to each tooth to provide strength to them.
Along with the treatment, it is also advisable to maintain a good oral hygiene that helps in stopping the meth mouth disease to spread further.
In case the restoration is not possible then tooth extraction is the only option left. The tooth that could not be restores are extracted and replaced with new dentures or bridges, whichever is required. Many medicines or food items that will help in increasing the salivary flow in the mouth can also be prescribed.
Prevention from Meth mouth:
However, there no such preventive measure for meth mouth disease, but once diagnosed, following steps can prevent the disease from spreading:
- Good oral hygiene will not only help in preventing the disease from spreading, but is also good otherwise
- Taking treatment for meth addiction will help in better treatment and further spreading of the disease
- Treating the dry mouth that is common in meth mouth disease. Gradually reduce the consumption of sodas and sugary drinks replacing it with water