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Lighthouse Dental Care
88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

The Impacts of Drug Abuse on Oral Health

Good oral health plays a vital role in your daily life. Not only do healthy teeth allow you to eat without pain, but they allow you to smile confidently, bolstering your self-esteem and making a good impression on others. Everyone knows that the key to good oral health is brushing your teeth regularly, but your lifestyle can also have a big impact on your teeth. This is especially true if you abuse drugs or alcohol, substances that can have wide-ranging negative effects on your whole body, including your mouth.


Smoking cannabis, either as marijuana or hashish, can have serious adverse effects on overall oral health. It has been a significant cause of oral cancer among users as well as periodontitis and dry mouth. Reports have shown that those who use these substances are at risk of developing leukoedema or thrush.


Although alcohol is legal, it can be very addictive, and it’s unhealthy on many levels. Alcohol itself can dry out your mouth, and some alcoholic drinks, like beer, are acidic, which can further damage your teeth. In addition, many alcoholic drinks are served with sugary mixers like fruit juice or soda, which can contribute to plaque buildup. Regular alcohol consumption also raises your risk of oral cancer.


Tobacco has long been the most well-known drug to be associated with oral health problems, ranging from cancers of the mouth, tongue, lip, and throat to tooth discoloration. Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, you’re likely to do significant damage to your mouth and teeth. In addition, smoking tobacco is associated with dry mouth, which can result in gum disease and halitosis.


This group of substances includes heroin and morphine. Opiate users often crave sugary substances like candy and soda, which can damage the teeth. In addition, using these substances can cause people to grind their teeth, which can cause serious damage to the teeth and jaw. And since opiates reduce the sensation of pain, people who use these drugs may not notice dental problems like cavities and gum disease before it’s too late to save their teeth.


Cocaine is a stimulant and is associated with a range of oral health problems. For starters, it is very acidic, and if it comes in contact with the teeth, it can wear down the enamel. Smoking crack cocaine can be especially detrimental, but another especially dangerous practice is rubbing powdered cocaine into the gums, which can cause sores in the mouth that could get infected. Cocaine use can also lead someone to grind their teeth or clench their jaw, which can cause cracked teeth and damage to the gums and jaw. Over time, people who snort cocaine can also develop palatal perforation, which is when the tissue between the roof of the mouth and the nose is damaged and dies, leaving a hole behind. When this happens, it can become difficult for the person to eat, drink, or talk.

Thankfully, all of these problems are easily avoided by most people. For those who are already addicted, it’s important to take steps to stop, including getting help from medical professionals to deal with the addiction and its side effects, which may include dental treatments or sleep apnea therapy. Stratford residents who do not abuse drugs or alcohol should avoid doing so, and they should also take steps to ensure that they and their families practice good oral hygiene, including regular visits to specialists in adult or pediatric dentistry. Stratford, CT‘s smiles will be safe with proper preventive measures.

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Office Hours

  • Monday
    8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday
    7:00 AM – 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday
    7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday
    8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday
    7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Select Saturdays
    8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

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Lighthouse Dental Care

88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

(203) 742-1027