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Drug Use and Gum Health

Posted on 12/23/2016 by Leslie Davis
A man holding a marijuana joint.
Illegal drugs, aside from being an addictive habit, can have some pretty significant effects on every part of your body.

They can affect your brain, causing hallucinations, paranoia, and affecting your ability to learn.

They can affect your circulatory system, raising your blood pressure and increasing your risks for heart problems. They can even have a big impact on your gum health.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Drug users typically have poor oral hygiene practices.This is why many have teeth that are in poor condition. Without regular brushing, flossing and dental visits, your chances of developing gum disease increases.

As gum disease advances, infection travels below the gum line, getting into the teeth and even the jawbone. This causes gum recession, weak teeth and your bone to degrade. Infection can even get into the blood stream and travel throughout the rest of the body.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is an important, natural defense against bacterial buildup. It washes away leftover food particles, on which bacteria likes to feed. It also contains proteins that kill bacteria that does linger. However, drugs can affect your saliva production and cause dry mouth. A dry mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. This then leads to several problems, including tooth decay and gum disease.


Many drugs are stimulants. Stimulants can cause you to grind your teeth, a condition known as bruxism. Bruxism wears down the enamel of your teeth, which can expose dentin and lead to sensitivity. It also causes your gums to recede and increases your chances of tooth decay and even tooth loss.

Oral Cancer

Many drug users also take up smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing oral cancer. It can attack anywhere in your mouth - your tongue, cheeks, entrance to the throat and even your gums. Untreated, it can be fatal.

Drug use has a number of different health effects, including the health of your gums. While proper treatment can restore their health, if drug use continues, problems will return.

For help quitting drug use, contact our office. He or she can refer you to a treatment program.

The Arizona Institute for Periodontics & Dental Implants
Leslie I. Davis, BDS, DDS, PC
13802 W Camino del Sol Suite 103
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486

Phone: (623) 584-0664
Fax: (623) 584-1728

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Friday: Closed

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