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Drugs Kill Your Smile

Outline Learning Outcomes / Intentions 

  • The goal of our project if to express and show the impact of drugs on your oral health.
  • We hope to achieve more education on the subject as people are becoming more aware of the impact on drugs especially now that cannabis is legalized.

Watch our Presentation below Enjoy!


There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When a cigarette is burned it creates more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which are toxic and known to cause cancer. The chemicals in tobacco affect your saliva flow which makes it easier for bacteria to stick to your teeth and gums. If you do not remove the bacteria on a daily basis, it will harden into calculus which will require a professional to remove. Smoking can also affect your gum tissue, which can cause infections and restricted blood flow. This makes it take longer for your mouth to heal after having surgeries such as dental implants, extractions or treatment of gum disease. Studies have shown that approximately 90% of people who have been diagnosed with mouth, throat or lip cancer have used tobacco products. Even smokeless tobacco products can irritate gum tissue, causing gums to loosen around teeth, making it easier for bacteria to settle in and develop decay.


Cannabis, also known as weed, pot, marijuana, can have negative effects on the oral cavity. The side effects of cannabis are the main source of the negative oral health effects. Cannabis causes cravings and xerostomia (also known as dry mouth or cottonmouth) which when mixed together creates a higher risk of developing dental caries. Saliva is what protects the teeth from cavities, so reduction of this and mixing it with unhealthy food/drink cravings creates more susceptibility. Cannabis can also directly impact the dental appointments as the heart rate may increase leading to anxiety. Some other factors influenced in the appointment are the interactions it has with medications, the risk of increased bleeding and judgment may be impaired to provide accurate consent.


Known by the names “Molly”, “E,” or the “Love Drug” this drug doesn’t just cause hallucinations. It also results in dry mouth in up to 99% of users, and this dryness can last up to two whole days after use. The higher the dose of the drug, the more severe the dry mouth and the longer it lasts. This condition not only increases a person’s chance of developing cavities, it is also linked to gum disease. Another serious side effect of the drug is bruxism, which is the technical term for tooth grinding and clenching. Reported in 50 to 89% of its users, this behavior as you can see in this picture starts to wear down the teeth and can worsen jaw pain. You can grind your teeth down to almost nothing.


Cocaine is extremely dangerous for both the oral and nasal cavity. The chemicals in cocaine mix with saliva to create an acidic substance which in turn wears down the teeth and damages the palate creating it difficult to speak, eat or drink. Irritation of the nasal cavity can cause loss of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing and a chronically inflamed runny nose. Other issues cocaine causes are gingival lesions, dental caries, gingival and periodontal diseases and bruxism (or grinding of the teeth). As Sara said before, the reason for grinding being so dangerous, is the wearing down of the teeth it causes. This can also cause TMJ problems with the constant clenching of the mouth. Xerostomia (dry mouth) is another negative impact of cocaine which is what causes the increased risk of dental caries. Ulcers and damage to the oral bones are caused by cocaine being rubbed on the gums.


Meth – also known as speed, ice, glass and crystal – can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken in pill form. As you have just heard about the other drugs we have spoken to today there are very serious effects on not only our teeth but our whole oral cavity. Meth is incredibly dangerous and highly addictive. The common ingredients of meth are: Acetone, would you drink nail polish remover or paint thinner? It’s extremely flammable. Anhydrous ammonia which is found in fertilizer and some cleaners. Mixing it with other chemicals creates a toxic gas. Hydrochloric Acid is used to make plastic. It is so corrosive that it can remove rust from steel and is capable of eating away flesh. Lithium which is found in batteries. It burns the skin, is highly explosive, and reacts violently with water, imagine just swallowing a battery. Red phosphorus which is found on matchboxes, in road flares, and in other explosives. Toluene which is found in brake fluid. It is so corrosive it can dissolve rubber. Sodium Hydroxide or lye is used to dissolve roadkill. It is corrosive and can also burn skin or cause blindness. Sulfuric Acid which is found in drain cleaner. It is corrosive and can also burn the skin. After hearing all of these, every ingredient involved in making meth is dangerous to humans on their own. This means that both making and using crystal meth is incredibly dangerous, to be avoided at all costs. A Lot of these are acidic and just strip away teeth and oral tissues. The teeth of people addicted to methamphetamines are characterized by being blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling and falling apart. Often, the teeth cannot be salvaged and must be completely removed. The high can last up to 12 hours. This can lead to long periods of poor dental hygiene. While high much like cannabis as Waverly said, users often high calorie, carbonated, sugary beverages. In addition just like the other drugs, they may grind or clench their teeth, all of which can cause serious damage.

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