Methamphetamine makes people high, but chronic meth use also heightens the risk for dental destruction. "Meth mouth" typically involves rampant tooth decay, dry mouth, cracked teeth, and gum disease, and it can rob meth users not only of their smiles but also of their ability to chew.
What does "meth mouth" look like? Keep clicking to see 15 scary photos, courtesy of the American Dental Association and Dr. Brett Kessler, a dentist in Denver, Colo...
In 2009, 1.2 million Americans had abused meth at least once in the year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
What's the first stage of meth mouth? Bad breath, cavities, and red, swollen gums.
The front teeth are usually the first to decay.
In the second stage of meth mouth, sores may appear on the lips, gum tissue starts to recede, and decay worsens.
In the final stage of meth mouth, teeth decay down to the gum line and some teeth have fallen out.
These teeth are so flat because of severe grinding while using meth.
The black lesions seen here are the direct result of smoking meth.
The acids in the manufacturing process of meth
The cavities get so bad that the teeth eventually break off, leaving just the roots of the teeth.
Here, the tooth decay is seen starting at the gum line and eventually spreading throughout the teeth.
Because meth can block or lessen the effects of dental pain, meth users often don't experience the pain that would be expected of such extensive tooth decay.
Meth causes the vessels that supply blood to oral tissues to shrink - and teeth and gums need blood in order to stay healthy.
In addition to destroyed teeth, meth users who snort may have burns in the back of their throats.