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Negative Impacts of Intoxicants On Dental Health

Impacts of Intoxicants

Intoxicants not only cloud a person’s abilities to think and act in a rational manner but also take a toll on the health, especially when they become an addiction.

It is a known fact that over time, habitual drinkers, chain smokers or those indulging in drugs tend to focus more on getting their regular shots rather than other responsibilities, including personal health and hygiene.

When basic things such brushing teeth twice a day or consuming less of sugary eats or acidic drinks are ignored, it is but natural that teeth and gums get affected over time.

While there is a general awareness of the kind of damage that intoxicants can inflict on the liver, lungs, stomach, and other internal organs, their impact on dental health often goes unnoticed. Poor oral hygiene by itself can trigger several serious health issues.

Let’s take a quick look at a few ways in which intoxicants can hamper dental health.

Irrespective of the type of intoxicant, there is a definite impact on dental health and oral hygiene, because of the behavioral changes that these substances usually cause.

Common conditions such as dry mouth, involuntary clenching of jaws or grinding teeth (Bruxism), or craving for sweet or acidic substances usually hasten dental decay. Be it Alcohol, Tobacco, Cocaine, Meth or Heroin, each specific intoxicant has a different effect on oral health.


Smoking or chewing tobacco excessively often leads to oral cancer.  Tobacco also has a tendency to limit saliva production, resulting in a condition known as “Dry Mouth”, which in turn can lead to tooth decay, gum problems, and bad breath.

Saliva naturally cleans the mouth, rids it of harmful bacteria, counters the effects acids produced in the oral cavity and also helps to repair worn out enamel.

Chewing tobacco also leaves a stain on the teeth, causing discoloration to different degrees. If you suffer from stained teeth, you can visit Goel Dental Care for Teeth Whitening Treatments.


While it is definitely not against the law to consume alcohol, it can have a negative impact on dental health when it becomes an obsession.

Most alcohols are definitely corrosive and will erode the tooth enamel causing sensitivity, pain and eventually tooth decay especially if basic dental care regimen is ignored.

Some drinks, however, contain a higher percentage of alcohol than acids, resulting in a dry mouth; yet others can be too sweet and can cause tooth decay. Colored wines though can cause discoloration of teeth.


Known as one of the more potent intoxicants/drugs, the negative impact of Cocaine on dental health tends to vary based on how it is taken. Involuntary muscular spasms, especially around the mouth and jaws, often result in teeth grinding against each other.

Frequent occurrences of such spasms damage/crack teeth, wear off the enamel and affect gums as well.

The corrosive nature of this substance is far enhanced when it mixes with saliva and can cause severe damage to gums and mouth tissue resulting in sores, or even burn a hole in the upper palate that separates nasal and oral passages.

Erosion of teeth enamel, gum tissue plus underlying bone structure, and dry mouth are other problems commonly faced by Cocaine users.


Heroin and other similar opiates or opioids that cause mild intoxication or numbness also have a detrimental effect on oral hygiene.

Heroin triggers a tendency to indulge heavily in sweet and sugary substances, naturally paving way for bacterial infections and tooth decay.

The less potent painkillers, however, can cause muscle spasms and grinding teeth, wearing off the enamel, weakening the jaw, and increasing the possibility of infections as well. Heroin can also cause discoloration of the tongue.

The drawback of getting hooked to painkillers is that the person no longer experiences pain, and may not be able to get timely attention even if the problem is severe.


Meth has been synonymous with poor oral hygiene. Using this drug can result in several dental problems ranging from rotting teeth and infected gums to missing teeth, dry mouth and Bruxism.

Meth interferes with blood supply to the gums by causing blood vessels to shrink, it reduces saliva production and also induces a craving for sweet substances, extensively affecting oral hygiene in different ways making it all the more necessary to take extra care when it comes to dental health.


Indulging in Marijuana too may result in dry mouth, tooth decay, and gum problems as well. It is also a known fact that smoking weed increases the chances of throat / oral cancer and of course affects the lungs as well.

Cannabis is also known to trigger vomiting.  In such cases, acid reflux from the stomach also tends to affect oral hygiene, slowly wearing away enamel and tissue, weakening teeth and exposing them to bacterial infections/decay.

Intoxicants do have a detrimental effect on dental /oral health. However, the nature and extent of dental issues caused by drugs tend to vary based on the type and frequency of use.

Drugs, when used as prescribed or intoxicants when used in moderation, may not trigger any dental health concerns as long as the users take care to stick to a daily dental care routine and watch their diet patterns as well.

As for people who are addicted to drugs, de-addiction programs and therapists play a key role in addressing the health concerns of the inmates.

A range of dental health products from anti-plaque mouthwashes to interdental brushes help maintain teeth and gums in the best of health. It is, however, important to pick a suitable one that best meets specific needs and preferences, in consultation with your dentist should you wish to!

Intoxicated or otherwise, family members, friends, and caregivers must make sure that their loved ones do not neglect /ignore dental health for it may prove a costly and painful process to get dental concerns addressed at a severe stage.


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Akash Saini
Akash is an editor of Ok Easy Life. He is an atheist who believes in love and cultural diversity. Reach out to him at [email protected]