Crack Cocaine is Devastating to your Teeth
Not Only is Crack Cocaine Detrimental to your Overall Health, It Will Destroy Your Teeth!
Without including all the negative effects of crack cocaine on your overall health such as lung damage, heart live and kidney damage, it also affects your prestige, your psychological balance, your bank account, your friends, children and spouse, paranoia, etc. Crack cocaine has what is considered to cause a devastating effect on your teeth. Six-month dental check-ups and proper oral health as well as diet and appearance are no longer important to you and the downward spiral is rather quick. Crack cocaine produces a very short-lived high which is quite intense, followed by just the opposite–intense depression, edginess, increased likelihood of infectious disease, and a craving for more. So begins the inevitable downward spiral.
Crack Cocaine & Oral Health
Xerostomia (dry mouth) is one of the first things that happens to the user. We all know that saliva bathes the teeth, helps digest food, and prevents decay. Crack cocaine reduces the production of saliva with the end result being a dry mouth. This environment becomes catastrophic to the teeth and basically, all the teeth become full of decay all at once. Not only are the teeth themselves involved, but the bone, the gums, and the corners of the mouth. It is a terrible habit and extremely difficult to terminate. The rapid onset of the decay comes from the acidity of cocaine, the dry mouth, as well as the loss of desire to maintain healthy teeth. The breakdown of the teeth and the paranoia associated with it bring on a clenching or grinding habit which is terribly detrimental when the teeth are in this condition.
Cocaine also causes recession and bleeding of gums and often infection of the bone. The user loses a desire to eat and lack of vitamins and proper nutrition result in further destruction of the teeth. Cocaine, like many other drugs, destroys smiles and causes permanent damage to teeth.
Cocaine Vs Crack Cocaine
Crack cocaine gets its name from the cracking noise it makes caused by the heat when smoking. It is not the same as cocaine, but also does tremendous damage to one’s ego, appearance, attitude, health, etc. It is a terrible habit. It’s perhaps the most addicting street drug there is. Crack cocaine is far more addicting than cocaine and somehow bypasses most of the body and goes more directly to the brain. It takes only seconds, whereas regular cocaine may take 10-15 minutes and affects the whole body.
Effects of Cocaine
Abuse of cocaine, especially when snorted through the nose, may result in a perforation between the two nostrils, or even from the nose and onto the palate. These affect speech and also create problems with swallowing. One can imagine the problem if food or liquid enters the nose through this opening from the palate. Cocaine results in shrinking of the blood vessels which supply the nutrients needed for health to the cells which the vessels feed. An extreme reduction in their diameter leads to dying tissue which will create the catastrophic opening. Cocaine can also cause excessive nosebleeds, sore throats, and damage to the internal lining of your nose.
Medical Dangers Associated with Crack Cocaine
I would be remiss in this article if I did not mention that there are extremely serious medical dangers associated with crack cocaine in addition to the damaging effect it has on teeth and gums. It initially creates a short-lived euphoria but can ultimately damage the lungs creating difficult respiratory problems. It not only dilates the pupils but causes a serious increase in the heart rate, also known as tachycardia. All this decreases the appetite which then brings on the ancillary problems associated with an extremely poor diet. The initial high from crack cocaine can never be duplicated again. The user develops tolerance to the drug and then more and more is required, causing deeper and more lasting problems. Sleep deprivation sets in with all its additional side effects. Unfortunately, dependency upon crack cocaine occurs to people of any age, social status, income or ethnicity. Never even try it!
Drug abuse and addiction are treatable and we know that the human body begins to heal the moment the substance abuse stops, so it is never too late to start a sober lifestyle. Dentists can be very helpful in restoring damaged teeth and gums to a healthy and aesthetic condition. But the treatment is hopeless unless the habit is abated. This most certainly helps with the paranoia of addiction, but the use of and addiction to drugs must cease first. Unfortunately, murder and/or suicide becomes factors, all for more access to the drug.
Addiction or dependency upon a drug is not a disease and must not be faced alone. Help is needed by professionals. The only way out is to seek that help. If you have a problem with drugs, seek help now!
Life Member of American Dental Association, Emeritus Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Association of Implant Dentists