Dental Hygiene

Cocaine and Dental Hygiene how Cocaine use Affects the Teeth

Shannon Boone's image for:
"Cocaine and Dental Hygiene how Cocaine use Affects the Teeth"
Image by: 

Although there are many drugs that affect people’s general well-being, cocaine is without a doubt one of the worse and most addictive drugs of all.  Not only does it affect a person’s state of mind, but, their physical appearance as well.  One of the most common affects on physical appearance due to cocaine use is the effect that is has on teeth

People use cocaine in several different ways to achieve their high, and one common method is to rub it on the gums, which causes a numbing sensation.  Although using cocaine is not a wise decision no matter which method is used, rubbing the cocaine on the gums can be extremely hazardous to teeth.

For starters, there are many acids in cocaine, which become more acidic when mixed with saliva, therefore causing the tooth enamel to erode, and enamel is necessary for teeth to stay healthy.  As erosion progresses, the teeth become extremely sensitive.  When sensitivity occurs, daily activities such as eating can become effected because hot and cold foods and drinks as well as sweets become painful to ingest.  In addition, due to the combination of the erosion and dry mouth that is caused from use of the drug, bacteria is able to build up one the teeth because the protective barrier that once was there no longer exists.  As the bacteria builds up, eventually, the teeth will begin to decay.

Another affect that cocaine has on the body is that it often makes users have the compulsive need to grind their teeth.  This grinding is called buxism, and excessive grinding eventually will cause chipped teeth, jaw pains, chronic headaches, restricted facial and jaw movement, and gum recession.

Some cocaine users may also opt to use the drug in the crack cocaine form.  This form of the drug is smoked; residual from the smoke left in the mouth can also cause damage to tooth enamel, gums, and nerves.

The result of what happens to teeth due to cocaine use can not only be painful, but unsightly as well, and can be a tell-tell sign that a person is using the drug.  Although there are many people that can function in their day to day lives while using the drug, the affect on physical appearance can change how cocaine users are viewed, and correcting problems caused by cocaine use by getting dentures or implants can have a price tag that many people are unable to pay.

More about this author: Shannon Boone

From Around the Web