How Do Drugs and Alcohol Negatively Affect Your Dental Health?

Having good oral hygiene is directly linked to your overall health. It’s important to know how to care for your teeth and which foods, drinks and substances to stay away from or use sparingly. Keep reading to learn how smoking, drugs and alcohol can affect your teeth.
Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle

Owner of .

Gum Disease and Cancer

Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, gum disease, and poor gum healing, including oral cancer (particularly when combined with frequent alcohol consumption). Because most alcohols are acidic, regular alcohol consumption can lead to dry mouth and tooth attrition. Additionally, it can raise your risk of mouth cancer, particularly if you combine it with smoking.

Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol Can Decrease Dental Health

Smoking can change the balance of oral bacteria, favoring harmful bacteria associated with periodontal disease. This shift in the microbiome can lead to more aggressive and destructive forms of gum disease. Nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels, limiting blood flow to oral tissues and impeding healing. Additionally, smoking promotes plaque accumulation, providing a conducive environment for bacteria and acid formation.

Drinking Alcohol
Chronic alcohol use heightens the risk of oral cancer due to DNA damage and compromised genetic mutation repair mechanisms. Heavy alcohol consumption can result in distinct alcohol-induced gingivitis, characterized by gum bleeding and heightened vulnerability to infections. Moreover, alcohol worsens dry mouth, intensifying enamel erosion and decay while also causing irritation to oral tissues.

Using drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) often leads to bruxism (teeth grinding), enamel wear, increased sensitivity, and jaw discomfort. Drug-induced dry mouth, common in medications for conditions like depression and high blood pressure, diminishes the vital flow of saliva necessary for oral health maintenance. Substance abuse can also induce malnutrition, weakening the immune system and the body’s ability to uphold healthy oral tissues. Furthermore, drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines narrow blood vessels, resulting in tissue damage, delayed wound healing, and heightened susceptibility to infections.

Dr. Jennifer Silver

Dr. Jennifer Silver

Dentist and Owner at .
Rhianna Jones

Rhianna Jones

Registered Nurse at .

Can Weaken The Ability to Fight off Oral Infections

    Smoking- Smoking may cause tooth staining, gum-related diseases because of reduced blood flow to the gums, bad breath because of the accumulation of harmful substances in the mouth, slow healing times, and oral cancer.

    Drinking Alcohol- Drinking alcohol may cause reduced saliva, which leads to dry mouth. Saliva is needed to help neutralize acids and cleanse the mouth. It may also cause tooth decay, gum irritation (which could lead to infection), and oral cancer.

    Drugs- Drug use may cause tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and general neglect of oral health.

Along with these reasons, smoking, drinking alcohol, and drug use can weaken a person’s ability to fight off oral infections. For these reasons, it is important to avoid smoking and drug use, and limit consumption of alcohol. Be sure to use good hygiene and go to checkups!

8 Ways Drugs and Alcohol Affect Your Oral Health

Each drug and wine has a number of different ways that it can harm oral health. The most typical ways that addictive substances can generally damage the mouth and teeth are listed below:

    1. A dry mouth causes the mouth to produce more acid, which damages enamel.
    2. Acid reflux, which also damages soft tissue and rots enamel.
    3. Gnashing of teeth.
    4. Loss of blood supply to the gums and roots.
    5. Oral sores or ulcers that have the potential to spread infection.
    6. The prioritization of obtaining additional medicines over practicing good oral hygiene.
    7. Deficits in nutrition that can harm gums and teeth.
    8. Increased use of sugary foods and drinks, which rots teeth.

Keith Willis

Dentist at .

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