Drug Use and Your Mouth

Image
Anatomy of Oral Cavity

Courtesy of PubMed Health

Anatomy of the Oral Cavity

In collaboration with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

How does drug use affect the mouth? 

When dentists say, “open wide,” they can see a treasure trove of information about your overall health. Your mouth can give the dentist clues about your eating habits, oral hygiene, and other behaviors such as smoking and drug use.

Using drugs can harm your teeth and gums, the roof of your mouth (the hard palate and soft palate); the area under the tongue (floor of your mouth), the lining of your cheeks; the tongue; lips; salivary glands; chewing muscles; and jaw joint.1

Studies show that people with substance use problems have worse oral (mouth) health than other people, including more tooth decay and gum disease.2

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.

2 Baghaie H, Kisely S, Forbes M, Sawyer E, and Siskind DJ. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between poor oral health and substance abuse. Addiction. 2017, 112: doi:10.1111/add.13754.

Content on this site is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Syndication Storefront: Select NIDA content is available for you to use on your own site. Through HHS Syndication Storefront, you may promote this high-quality content on your website and it will take on the look and feel of your site. This syndicated content will also update content in real-time, leaving you free from having to perform manual updates.