How Does Crystal Meth Damage Teeth?

This thread addresses the topic of meth users having major dental issues, but I’m curious how. The doctor’s explanation:

I don’t dispute any of this, but it doesn’t seem like enough of an explanation. Lack of saliva? C’mon, we can do better. As far as anxiety, poor hygiene and diet, why don’t crack or heroin addicts have the signature “meth mouth”?

So, discounting hygiene, diet, and lifestyle, is there something chemically different about meth that destroys teeth?

It may not be the methamphetamines themselves, but chemical residues left over from synthesis in a bathtub.

Also, if methamphetamines are smoked (I plead ignorance), the hot vapors can damage the gums.

Darn it, now I’ve got that old “Crystal Light” drink mix jingle going through my head.

“I believe in Crystal Meth, 'cause I believe i-in me!”

Also, heavy meth users abandon home, job, schedule, sleep, and hygiene in order to stay awake for days and party. This combination probably adds to what was mentioned already.

Good discussion here:

This is actually a really interesting topic. At the beginning of this year, the papers were full of horror stories about how meth caused such horrific damage to the teeth. However, at the beginning of the summer, a bunch of articles surfaced with a contrary opinion, stating that meth itself didn’t do much of anything to the teeth, and that most cases of “meth mouth” could be attributed to staying up for days at a time, bad hygeine, meth’s notorious sugar cravings, the fact that users come down and sleep for 2-3 days without having brushed their teeth before crashing out, etc.

Meth addiction has actually been around since at least the 1980s and there hasn’t been an epidemic of “meth mouth” until now. I don’t know that many meth users, but I’m inclined to side with the “meth mouth is BS” crowd.

Heroin junkies can have it as well. Mostly due to poor hygiene.

“Meth mouth” was really very common when I was in high school six years ago. At first, a girl starts getting pretty skinny and everyone tells her she looks good. Then a few months later her hair turns to hay, her teeth start falling out, you can see her bones and she’s covered in nasty sores. I’m convinced that a good set of photos of what speed makes you look like would cure half the female high school speed addicts. Half of the reason so many girls are in to it is that it initally improves their schoolwork and leads to an overwhelming number of compliments on their weight loss.

I always figured the bad teeth was part of the general deteriation of the body- blodflow, immune system, everything gets shot. No part of a speed addict looks healthy or good. Bad hygene is also part of it. Meth users have knack for ending up in strange places- like some friend of a friend of their dealer’s- for days at a time.

With Heroin users chasing the dragon, the tooth enamel is attacked directly by the smoke contents.

I’d imagine that one culprit of the smoke mixture is the use of things like citric acid or even vinegar to cook it down.

It’s those damn scrubbing bubbles.