A man with meth mouth attempts to help his tooth pain

Methamphetamine use continues to wreak havoc across the United States, tearing apart both families and local economies. One study found that in the year 2015 approximately 897,000 people were current users of methamphetamine. (1)

While methamphetamine causes numerous health disorders, “meth mouth” is particularly notorious.

Here we take a look at the signs, symptoms, and causes of meth mouth in methamphetamine users.

What is meth mouth?

Methamphetamine (aka crystal meth) is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant A diagram of a tooth affected by meththat causes numerous health issues for those who abuse it.

One of the most common health issues associated with methamphetamine abuse is very poor oral hygiene, popularly referred to as meth mouth.

Meth mouth is a general term that refers to the severe tooth decay and poor overall oral health that is commonly associated with meth users.

What causes meth mouth?

Meth mouth is caused by a variety of factors associated with methamphetamine abuse. The drug itself causes some of these factors, while others arise from the lifestyle that commonly is coupled with methamphetamine addiction.

The following are frequently cited as causes of meth mouth:

  • The acidic nature of methamphetamine
  • Dry mouth caused by methamphetamine
  • Cravings for foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugar
  • Grinding and clenching teeth (which is a common side-effect of stimulant use)
  • Overall lack of oral hygiene that is commonly associated with methamphetamine addiction (3)

What are the signs and symptoms of meth mouth?

Methamphetamine causes damage to oral health in several ways. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of meth mouth:

  • Dark and eroded teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum infections
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Tooth fractures
  • Severe dental pain (2)
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So what does this mean?

The majority of damage to oral health caused by methamphetamine is usually irreversible, and thus typically results in loss of teeth. Therefore, the best treatment for meth mouth is to immediately seek treatment for methamphetamine addiction.

Meth mouth is just one example of the numerous detrimental health effects caused by methamphetamine addiction.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015.htm
  2. http://www.medicinaoral.com/pubmed/medoralv20_i2_p205.pdf
  3. https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/patient_55.ashx