Get help! Speak with an addiction specialist today.
Call (928) 723-1202
Updated on September 26, 2022
6 min read

How Meth Affects Your Throat and Mouth

What is Methamphetamine (Meth)?

Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth or meth, is an addictive drug that is snorted, smoked, or injected.

It’s a white, odorless crystal-like powder that has a bitter taste. In extremely rare cases, doctors prescribe low doses of meth or Desoxyn to treat ADHD.

Meth produces a euphoric high which varies in duration and intensity based on how you take the drug. It decreases appetite and makes you more talkative. When used over time, meth damages a person’s health and has both physical and mental health effects.

Is Meth Addiction Affecting Your Life?

If you or a loved one is suffering, call now. An Addiction Specialist can help:

  • Answer questions about treatment
  • Provide financial assistance options
  • Give you valuable guidance and resources
Call now (928) 723-1202 Who answers?
Woman drinking coffee on couch

How Meths Affect the Throat

Meth use negatively affects the throat when it's smoked or snorted. It also causes rapid breathing due to its stimulant effects, which dries and irritates the throat. 

Smoking meth puts users at risk of coughing up blood because of bleeding in the alveoli, which is the part of the lungs responsible for gas exchange with the body’s blood supply.

Snorting meth causes violent coughing fits and respiratory trauma, including a collapsed lung. The air might also be released into the body outside of the lungs, which is a condition known as pneumomediastinum. 

Inhalation of meth leads to deposits of impurities in the lungs. This leads to the formulation of granulomas and elevates the risk of interstitial lung disease.


It doesn't matter how you choose to use meth. All methods of use cause health problems. In the throat, meth use results in drying, irritation, coughing fits, and lung problems.

How Meth Affects the Mouth 

Meth mouth is the term many people use to describe the combination of dental health problems users experience. 

Meth is well-known for the toll it takes on users’ dental health. Meth causes dry mouth, which reduces the body’s ability to fight off bacteria. This leads to an increase in cavities and other dental health issues. 

Meth users also struggle with compulsive teeth grinding, which wears the teeth down over time.

Additionally, meth users tend to neglect their dental health and eat poorly, further exacerbating their oral health issues. Gum health is also a problem, leading to gum recession and erosion. 

What is Meth Mouth? 

Meth mouth is a combination of symptoms associated with the poor dental health of meth users. It includes:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth fracture
  • Acid erosion
  • Poor gum health
  • Cavities
  • Enamel erosion
  • Gum inflammation
  • Missing teeth
  • Blackened, rotting, or crumbling teeth

Health experts believe the condition is caused by the side effects of meth and common lifestyle factors among long-term users. Meth is also acidic, which leads to faster erosion than non-users experience.

Despite meth users being at high risk of dental health issues, it's not the only drug that causes these problems. Heroin and club drugs like MDMA can also cause oral health conditions. However, meth users have a very high risk of developing dental health issues.

Meth Mouth Treatment

Meth mouth is treatable, even when all of the damage cannot be reversed completely. The first step to treating meth mouth is to get treatment for meth addiction. Once someone has their addiction under control, they can seek dental health treatment.

Some of the most common dental treatments for meth mouth include:

  • Extraction
  • Veneers
  • Implants
  • Dentures
  • Fillings and crowns
  • Mouth guards
  • Topical fluoride

Every patient is different. It’s important to work with a dentist you trust and have them help you create a customized treatment plan. In addition to the corrective dental procedures, you should establish a healthy lifestyle, make smart choices about nutrition, and maintain good dental habits, including brushing and flossing. 


Meth use causes "meth mouth," characterized by dry mouth, rotting teeth, and gum problems. It can be treated using various dental treatments such as extraction, implants, dentures, and many more.

Questions About Insurance?

Addiction specialists are available 24/7 to help you navigate costs, insurance, and payment options

Learn More Who answers?
Man giving thumbs up

Dangers of Snorting, Smoking, & Injecting Meth

All methods of meth use cause health problems, but there are slight variations based on how the drug is used.

Snorting meth, as you might expect, causes damage to the nose and sinus cavities.

Many health experts believe smoking meth poses the greatest and fastest risk of addiction. It also poses a risk to the mouth, throat, and lungs. Meth mouth is most likely to develop when someone smokes the drug. This condition causes tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth sores.

Injecting meth creates a risk of exposure to HIV and hepatitis C due to needle use. Even if you don’t share needles with other people, there's a higher risk of infection and collapsed veins when you inject meth. 

There is also a risk of blockages in the brain, heart, or liver, and heart tissue infection when meth is injected directly into the blood. 

How Meth Affects the Body

Meth is incredibly dangerous whether you snort, inject, or smoke it. It’s very addictive and requires higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect the more you use it.

Meth affects the body in a variety of negative ways. It impacts the body’s organs and puts people at risk for various secondary health problems, including HIV, if you inject it.

Meth users also have a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Immune suppression
  • Liver damage
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Death

Get Personalized Care

The best treatment is one that works for YOU. An addiction specialist can answer your questions and guide you through your options. Get the help YOU need today.

Learn More Who answers?

Side Effects of Meth Use 

Side effects of short-term meth use include:

  • Increased alertness
  • Increased activity
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased respiration
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Hyperthermia

Side effects of long-term meth use include:

  • Addiction
  • Changes in the brain
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Repetitive motor activity
  • Memory loss
  • Deficits in mental and motor skills
  • Increased distractibility
  • Aggression and other mood disturbances
  • Weight loss
  • Dental health problems (‘meth mouth’)
  • Increased risk of heart problems
  • Meth overdose


Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive drug with stimulatory effects on the central nervous system (CNS). It has short-term and long-term effects on the body and increases the risk of developing medical conditions such as liver damage, heart disease, and many more.

Meth Abuse & Addiction Treatment

Breaking an addiction to meth and maintaining sobriety is a challenge that almost always requires a healthcare provider's professional support. If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, it’s important to seek medical advice from an addiction specialist. 

There is no pharmacological treatment for meth addiction or for preventing relapse, but there are medications available that ease the side effects of recovering from an addiction to meth. 

Currently, studies are underway to examine drugs that could potentially manage:

  • Central nervous system inflammation
  • Cognitive problems
  • Depression
  • Hormones
  • Neurotransmitters

Many drugs used to treat other addictions are under investigation to see if they might be useful for treating meth addiction.

Many nonpharmacological treatments are available for treating substance use disorders (SUDs). These therapies create behavioral changes by altering activity patterns in the brain. They also help recovering addicts learn how to monitor and control their addiction. These include:

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) stimulates the brain with magnetic pulses.
  • Neurofeedback is a biofeedback method that displays real-time brain activity to teach people to recognize and regulate their brain function.
  • Vaccines and antibodies use the body’s natural immune system function to prevent meth from entering the brain.

These meth rehab and addiction treatment methods are in various stages of test trials to determine their effectiveness and safety in treating addiction.

Drug addiction specialists also use proven treatment methods to support meth withdrawal and recovery. These include:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • 12-step groups
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Behavioral health treatments


Currently, there is no pharmacologic treatment for meth abuse and addiction. However, non-pharmacologic forms of treatment are available. These include transcranial magnetic stimulation, neurofeedback, vaccines, detox, and behavioral treatments, among others.

Call to find out how much your insurance will cover
background wider circles
Updated on September 26, 2022

Related Pages