What continuous or extended use of meth does to your mouth is permanent and cannot be “naturally repaired.”
“Meth Mouth” has been so well documented, references are showing up in current fiction novels.
James Patterson, a well-known author of crime-related novels recently penned the following passage in his latest “Women’s Murder Club” mystery. If the title sounds familiar it was recently a TV series based on Patterson’s books and staring Angie Harmon.
[Detective Sgt. Lindsey Boxer and arson investigator Chuck Hanni roll up on a scene where an old school bus has exploded while waiting for a stop light. They check the victim’s driver’s license and determine he is a 22-year-old Hispanic male. Hanni peals back the man’s lips and sees two rows of broken and decayed stubs where his teeth should have been. Patterson notes: “The first visible sign of meth use is rotten teeth. It only takes a couple of years of food and sleep deprivation for a meth head to age 20 years.” It turns out in the story the bus was a mobile meth lab.]
So, what actually causes the teeth to rot?
Using meth decreases the saliva and dries the mouth, which allows food acids to attack the teeth and cause decay. Those who smoke or snort the drug are more are likely to present problems along the facial gum lines and root surfaces.
Extensive meth use also causes blood vessels to constrict, which in turn decreases blood supply to the teeth causing them to eventually die.
Those who smoke or snort meth may have lesions or burns on their lips, hard pallet or throat as well as other areas of the mouth.
Inflamed gum tissue, bleeding or bone loss will occur without attention to personal hygiene or professional care.
A meth user’s high can last as long as 12 hours in contrast to other drugs which usually last a lesser amount of time. However, during a meth high. the user will crave sweet drinks and because of the dry mouth that person will likely consume a lot of soda and other sugary foods.
Then you also have to consider some of the chemicals that are found in meth — battery acid, antifreeze, drain cleaner and lye just to name a few. These ingredients will destroy the enamel protecting the teeth allowing the opportunity for further destruction.
In just a few months, previously healthy teeth will turn grayish brown, become the texture of ripe fruit and fall out.
Dr. Daniel Roberts is the dentist to 10 detention facilities across Tennessee. He states that nearly one-third of all prisoners have ravaged teeth due to meth use.
“It’s the worse thing to come along in a long time,” said Roberts.
Department of Corrections facilities and county jails across the country are feeling the budget impact of caring for “meth mouth” inmates. In Minnesota dental costs have doubled in the last five years and the blame is put squarely on former meth addicts.
For numerous pictures of rotted teeth attributed to meth use, or more information on this subject, just log on to the Internet and type in “meth mouth,” then proceed from there. It is amazing what meth users are willing to endure just to keep that elusive euphoric feeling.
Don’t use, abuse or be confused! “Meth IS Death!”
For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition contact chair Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, (928) 425-4440, co-chair Bianca DalMolin at (928) 701-1790, facilitator Misty Cisneros (928) 425-1879 or media liaison Lu DuBois at (928) 425-4440.
Presented by the Gila County Meth Coalition