Methamphetamine use can have a negative effect on the entire body, causing an irregular heartbeat, diarrhea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and even brain damage. Meth can also cause serious harm to oral health, problems which are collectively called meth mouth.
Reduced Saliva Flow
One of the side effects of meth is a reduced saliva flow, which creates a dry mouth. This is harmful because saliva is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay because it neutralizes acids and brings in materials that rebuild tooth enamel.
Severe tooth decay develops not only because of a dry mouth but because of sugar cravings as well. Meth users on a high often develop a desire to drink lots of sugary beverages, which give plaque bacteria the ammunition they need to decay teeth. Meth users also tend to develop poor oral hygiene habits, which also result in decay.
Another side effect of meth use is the shrinking of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow. In the mouth, this can result in gum disease, causing infection and tissue breakdown.
Meth creates such severe tooth decay that teeth may begin to crumble. Additionally, meth can create feelings of anxiety in users that causes them to begin grinding or clenching their teeth, which can result in fracture.
If an individual smokes meth, they can create lesions in the mouth or on the lips. Because of a reduced blood flow, these lesions are slow to heal.