Updated on November 21, 2023
4 min read

Meth Mouth Images

Key Takeaways

What is Meth Mouth?

Meth mouth describes the oral health problems that occur due to methamphetamine or crystal meth use. 

People with meth addiction tend to have a high incidence of dental health issues. These include:

  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Enamel damage
  • Gum disease
  • Stained, blackened, or rotting teeth
  • Fragile or broken teeth
  • Missing teeth

Several issues related to meth use increase someone’s likelihood of having dental issues. People who use meth tend to have poor oral hygiene and don’t eat a healthy diet.

Additionally, meth is acidic. This alone damages tooth enamel and causes severe tooth decay. Meth might also be mixed with harsh chemicals, further damaging teeth.

Symptoms of meth mouth include:

  • Broken or missing teeth
  • Avoiding eating or only eating soft foods
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities and microcavities
  • Blackened or stained teeth
  • Loose teeth

In addition to dental problems, people using meth also tend to experience mood swings, dramatic weight loss, meth-related psychosis, and poor hygiene overall.


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Images of Meth Mouth (Warning: Medical Images)

Medical Images of Meth Sources
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Full Mouth
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Depositphotos 229361156 XL
Mouth with tooth decay from meth

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Does Meth Make Your Teeth Fall Out?

Yes, but it doesn’t happen immediately. Meth mouth occurs in stages. 

During the first stage, a meth addict tends to have bad breath and gum inflammation. They usually develop one or more cavities.

In the second stage, tooth decay increases. Their gums begin receding, and they develop mouth and lip sores.

During the third and final stage, teeth begin breaking and falling out. There might also be damage to the soft tissue tongue, lips, and tonsils.

Dental health issues are one of the most common health issues associated with meth use. One study examining the mouths of 571 meth users found that:1

  • 96% had cavities
  • 58% had untreated tooth decay

Several factors affect dental health and cause meth mouth, including:

Dry Mouth

Meth use affects your salivary glands. Your body produces less saliva when using the drug, allowing bacterial growth.

Poor Nutrition

People using meth develop cravings for sugary foods and carbonated beverages. Frequent exposure to sugar is bad for dental health.

Teeth Grinding

People who use meth tend to clench their jaw and grind their teeth. This leads to the gradual breakdown of tooth enamel.

Drug Additives

Meth is made with antifreeze, battery acid, household cleaners, and other hazardous chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals damages your teeth and overall oral health.

Poor Dental Hygiene

People dealing with substance use disorder tend to neglect their hygiene, including dental care. Their focus on the drug causes them to skip brushing and flossing and miss regular dental checkups.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Treatment is available for meth addiction. Often, the best approach to treating methamphetamine abuse is a combination of these treatments.

The most effective way to treat meth addiction is to wean off of the drug with a medically supervised detox. This is safest in an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment also includes:

  • Individual counseling
  • Medication to ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Group therapy
  • Family support
  • Access to 12-step programs
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention

Recent research showed that a combination of two medications, injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion, proved effective for treating adults with moderate or severe methamphetamine use disorder.2

If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, help is available. Contact a professional treatment center to learn about treatment for substance abuse.

In addition to treatment for addiction, there is also treatment for meth teeth and mouth. Meth mouth isn’t reversible. You might lose some or all of your natural teeth. However, dentists help many recovering meth addicts correct some of the issues. 

Treatment includes:

  • Dental Crowns
  • Dental Implants
  • Veneers
  • Dentures

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Meth mouth occurs when someone’s dental hygiene suffers due to their use of the drug. Chronic users have broken or missing teeth, mouth sores, and other oral health issues.

Meth increases the risk of tooth loss because users have poor dental hygiene and tend to overeat sugary foods and beverages. The additives in the drug also pose a risk to oral health.

Meth mouth develops gradually. Over time, it’s impossible to hide the symptoms of the disorder.

Treatment is available for meth addiction. People often have the greatest success with inpatient treatment, including a medically supervised detox.

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Updated on November 21, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on November 21, 2023
  1. Shetty, V, et al. "Dental Disease Patterns in Methamphetamine Users: Findings in a Large Urban Sample." Journal of the American Dental Association, 2015. 

  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Combination Treatment for Methamphetamine Use Disorder Shows Promise in NIH Study.” nih.gov, 2021. 

  3. American Dental Association. “Methamphetamine.” ada.org, 2021. 

  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Methamphetamine Drug Facts.” nida.nih.gov, 2019. 

  5. Curtis, Eric K. “Meth Mouth: A Review of Methamphetamine Abuse and Its Oral Manifestations.” General Dentistry, 2006. 

  6. Ravenel, Michele C., et al. “Methamphetamine Abuse and Oral Health: A Pilot Study of “Meth”” Quintessence International (Berlin, Germany: 1985), Mar. 2012.

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