Dentists are trained to spot tooth and gum problems and can detect when a patient uses or abuses a particular substance simply by looking at the patient's teeth and gums. Some substance use is easy to spot, e.g., discolored teeth from cigarette and tobacco use. Other substances may not be as easy to spot, such as aspirin chewers and pitting in your tooth enamel, because it mimics tooth decay from acidic foods. There are many drug substances and telltale signs, even if you have stopped using them for some time.
Dental Signs That Point out Heroin Users
Some heroin users "shoot up" by injecting the drug into their gums. A dentist will spot the multiple pin pricks of the needles and know that, at the very least, the patient uses some type of drug by injecting it. When the patient's teeth are badly damaged, broken and/or falling out also, then the dentist knows that the patient is a heroin user. Most heroin-addicted patients have a sweet tooth multiplied by a factor of ten, due to the nature of their addiction. The addition of many sweet treats destroys the health of the teeth while the heroin and needles destroy the gums. Under Canadian law, the dentist may or may not report what he or she sees as illegal drug use.
Dental Signs That Point Out Hypertension in a Patient
Most patients who have been diagnosed with hypertension have to take antihypertensive medications. These medications increase dry mouth and gum disease. The dry mouth is a side effect of many medications, but your dentist will spot the antihypertensive use when the gums go from reasonably healthy to some stage of periodontal disease in a short time. If you have not been entirely honest with your dentist about your medical history and current prescriptions, he or she will still spot the signs and confront you about missing facts in your medical reports.
Dozens of Legal and Illegal Drugs Impact Your Oral Health
Almost all legal and illegal drugs have some sort of effect on your teeth and gums. Almost all of them will cause dry mouth, which in turn causes tooth decay. If you are unsure as to what medications and illegal drugs will cause oral problems, you can ask a medical or dental professional at a dental office like Dentistry On Sherbrooke. Even if you do not confess to the habitual use of various substances, your dentist will still know that you drink too much coffee, smoke too much pot, or enjoy the taste of crunched up aspirin. It may just serve you better to come clean to your dentist so that he or she can provide you with better oral health care.