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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Effects on Oral Health

We know that drug and alcohol abuse has many negative health effects, but something that is not frequently discussed are the harmful effects that drugs and alcohol can have on the health of our teeth, gums, and mouth in general.  Good oral health is not just about having pearly white and straight teeth.  

Having strong teeth and healthy gums/mouth helps you eat and digest food, and helps you speak and pronounce words clearly. Left untreated, decay on the teeth leads to the formation of cavities which can become infected and spread throughout your whole body making you sick

While all drugs can have negative effects on your teeth, gums, and mouth, methamphetamine (meth) and tobacco (both in cigarettes and smokeless) are the worst offenders.

Methamphetamine: The use of meth has been linked to rapid formation of cavities. Dentists think this could be due to teeth grinding and clenching, dry mouth, or poor oral hygiene all of which are linked to meth use. When left untreated, the only treatment is to pull out all the teeth and wear dentures.

For more information about meth and oral health go here: http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/methmouth.asp#additional

Tobacco: Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco have harmful effects on the health of the mouth. Cigarettes can lead to dry mouth and gum disease. Dry mouth negatively affects oral health because without saliva to rinse off the teeth, bacteria grows on teeth and near the gums which can quickly become decay which then leads to cavities. Smokeless tobacco seriously damages gums and increases the risk of oral cancer.

For more information about tobacco and oral health go here:
http://www.hooah4health.com/prevention/disease/dentaldisease/oralfitresources/TobaccoAndOralHealth.pdf

If you are concerned about the health of your teeth/gums there are a few easy steps to take:

  1. Make an appointment with your dentist; current guidelines recommend seeing your dentist every six months.
  2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride keeps teeth strong and may stop or slow down the formation of decay.
  3. Floss your teeth daily. You must floss in order to remove food from in between teeth and near the gum line – your toothbrush does not reach everywhere in your mouth.
  4. Drink water – Sugary drinks (including alcohol) coat your teeth in sugar, which is the basis for tooth decay. By drinking water you are removing food and sugar from your teeth.


Visit this site for basic information about keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy:
http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html


Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment that includes nutritional education as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  For more information, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.





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