Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Methadone Myth #1 - Methadone Rots Teeth!

Methadone has many myths attached to it, and one of these myths is how methadone rots your teeth. So is this true or is this false? I hate answers that say yes and no, what is that, it is either one or the other right! But in the case of methadone and teeth this is true! Methadone itself does not cause your teeth too unfortunately rot, but...it does indirectly cause your teeth to rot!  

So "No" to methadone causing tooth decay
"Yes" to it indirectly speeding up tooth decay

This is due to the drying nature it has in your mouth, it decreases saliva flow, but this is not unique to methadone solely. Many medications cause dry mouth, the fancy medical term for dry mouth is "Xerostomia" (Zero-stow-mia) but for most of us it is called the "pasties" or "cotton mouth" among other hilarious sayings such as: "My mouth is drier than a popcorn fart"?! Ya okaay! That term is not something that should be used in conjunction with your mouth! Just saying!

Not all people are affected by though, but for the majority it is the case. Many addicts had bad teeth prior to methadone treatment and methadone just potentiates tooth decay. This was the case for me, I had bad teeth coming into treatment due to heavy drug use, it's not because I didn't care for them, it's because of chemicals and how they affect some people's bodies. Luckily my back teeth took the beating. It greatly affects people's self-confidence, they don't want to smile, they try to talk differently so that their teeth do not show as much, they avoid certain social situations. Of course stigma increases this as well, you are constantly pointed out as an addict, a dirty junky, or a no good for nothing pill head due to your teeth, what nicotine stained fingers are too a smoker, bad teeth are to an addict. It is absolutely horrible.
The effects of some drugs can be disastrous to the teeth, as well as dry mouth and this is not limited to just us "drug addicts", but society sees it that way. There is an idea which is used in "Junky land" that Stixx often went by in order to obtain drugs in a new place where he would be playing with one of his bands,  if he needed drugs he looked for the person who was constantly eating sweets or had bad teeth Lol! But it is no laughing matter just a thought we'd throw in to show you how people view addicts, yes even other addicts. The stigma and stereotypes associated with us are ridiculous and we need to change this.

When you look at some addicts, you will notice right away that they have little to no teeth. The teeth they do have, usually are discolored, a greyish to black color. This is caused from the chemicals which are a big part of every drug. This discoloration is started from the inside out in many cases.
         The big misconception is that all drug addicts do not take care of themselves or their dental hygiene. This may be true in some instances, but not all. It is usually just the wear and tear of the drugs on their teeth. It does not matter how many times per day an addict brushes or flosses their teeth, chemicals are disastrous to some people. By becoming drug-free you can save your teeth from "chemical warfare"
When teeth lose enamel, which protects the dentin, the decaying process is now sped up and they become past the point of no return. You cannot reverse this at all. 

A mouth must remain moist to prevent bacteria from growing rapidly, and since drugs are drying to the mouth, bacteria grows faster than normal.The medical term for this is hyposalivation.
This saliva acts as an anti-bacteria; therefore, when this reduces, the chances of tooth decay increases. The chances of dental bacteria in your mouth exacerbate.
       Sugar cravings, need I say more!! This is a subject all on its own which we will also discuss in the future. But as ravenous sugar munching people we need to ensure that we properly care for teeth and remove sugars  which can lead to tooth decay as well.
Tooth decay can also cause halitosis, which just means "bad breath". These problems can be prevented by some of the following suggestions:
  • Regularly rinse your mouth
  • Brush and floss your teeth after eating something. Brush with flouride toothpaste before/after you get your methadone
  • use circular or gentle scrubbing/brushing movements along your gum line and brush again before bed, which is the most important time to brush if you can not brush at other times throughout the day
  • If your gums bleed, don't stop brushing, but see your dentist
  • You can also constantly chew sugar free gum because it increases the saliva in your mouth
  • You can also use mouthwash to completely cleanse your mouth
  • Drinking plain water helps with dry mouth
  • Your dentist can also prescribe toothpaste with more flouride to prevent tooth decay
  • You can go to your dentist regularly for cleanings

There is a product on the market which we have been looking into called Biotene. It is made specifically for dry mouth caused by medications. We would like to include that just recently we had made mention of this product to a fellow twitter follower @adam420598 and he has gone and purchased a tube. It is a bit on the expensive side at $12.99+taxes, but well worth it if it helps to combat dry mouth while on medication of any sort. He will be letting us know what he thinks about it. He said there is many types to choose from, so at the end we will try to put the different types and what they do! 
        The destruction of your teeth will always be a constant reminder of your life in active addiction and will affect your self-esteem and self-confidence long after you have become clean and sober. At this point removal of your teeth is a definite and dentures will replace that horrible reminder of the effect drugs had on you physically. Others decide that caring for their teeth at this point wouldn't matter much at all, but inadequate dental hygiene can cause numerous problems, not only to your mouth but throughout your whole body. Abcesses are terribly painful and left untreated time and time again, can eventually cause the infection to enter your blood stream, which can be deadly.

       Some believe that getting regular dental checkups is something you do only when you are younger but that's not the case. When you eat or drink, what`s left behind turns to bacteria quickly. This bacteria is what causes the majority of problems. 
Regular routine cleanings are crucial because no matter how hard you try there is likely to be little microscopic bacteria lying around in your mouth.
Poor diet can lead to significant dental problems, especially when there is a tendency to indulge in foods with high sugar content. Eating foods that are high in vitamin and mineral content will help defend against potential dental difficulties. Keep your dentist informed about what goes into your mouth or if you grind, click, or clinch your teeth or jaw.

        Grinding your teeth can be very damaging and possibly cause them to break or crack, the term for this is "Bruxism". At night I now use a mouth guard, which Stixx bought at the pharmacy for me. This greatly helps to save my teeth from excruciating pain and breakage. Your teeth have a tendency to crumble like sand, literally, I have experienced this and many I speak too about this also experience it. This caused by the dry environment in your mouth and enamel loss. Also calcium can get leeched out of your system when you are on certain medications.

Mouth Guard
Dry mouth is a big concern for Methadone patients and if you are new to MMT it is essential that you begin caring properly for your teeth by keeping hydrated at all times, to prevent future decay.
Below is a list of the various Biotene products available. There are other types of products which you may find in your area, or you can visit your dentist for other recommendations or prescriptions that may be available.

Biotene Oral Balance Gel
  • Now with an improved pH balance formula and more moisturizers and lubricants.
  • Great for use at night or at any time.
  • Small, portable tube is easy and discreet to use
Biotene moisturizing mouth spray
  •     Biotène Moisturizing Mouth Spray is alcohol-free
  •     Spray when mouth feels dry

Biotene PBF Oral Rinse
  •        Alcohol-free.
  •        Soothes irritation caused by oral dryness.
  •        Refreshing, gentle and non-burning oral rinse cleans, while providing added relief of oral dryness

Biotene Oral Rinse   
  • Now with an improved pH balance formula.
  • Alcohol-free.
  • Special formula soothes Dry Mouth symptoms and protects against odors

Biotene PBF Dry Mouth Flouride Toothpaste

  • Provides essential fluoride protection and fights cavities.
  • Contains no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Gentle with a mild flavor

Biotene Dry Mouth Flouride Toothpaste Gentle Mint or fresh mint original
  • Helps provide essential fluoride protection for Dry Mouth sufferers.
  • Contains no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
  • Gentle with a mild flavor.

We hope this post has helped to answer some of your questions regarding tooth decay and methadone! If you have any further questions about tooth decay, methadone or any other topic, please feel free to contact us! 
~The information contained within should not replace the advice given from professional doctors, dentists, etc. It is solely based upon our experience and research~

Sources used:

Your Friends in the maze, Chixx & Stixx


  1. you are awesome! Thank you so much for this extremely valuable information! I will definitely be drinking more water, & brushing before bed! I get lazy with the before bed brushing! It has always been with my morning "getting ready" regimen. But, I see how extremely important it is to do it before bed! I too have taken a beating to my back teeth. Thank god it's back teeth, but the problems are definitely moving forward in my mouth with continued dosing, & age! Being 38, I'm no longer a spring chicken! Thanx again, awesome blog post!

  2. Thank you so much Jessica! U r awesome too!! Happy you found the post helpful! Yes brush b4 bed and drink lots of water!! I have to remind myself sometimes too!! With methadone its very important to keep hydrated or the problem will spread fast to front teeth :-( 38!! You still got some spring left girl!! Thanks for stopping by girl,take care!! P.s.your blog is looking great!! :-)

  3. I absolutely love that you are busting myths about methadone! Keep it up. This is great information for anyone struggling with dry mouth or dental troubles related to methadone. Can't wait to hear how it works for @adam420598!

    1. Thanks so much kelly! Happy that you enjoy the myth busting posts! We will do some more of these and hopefully we can help bust stigma!! Will definitely let u know about how it works, I'm curious too!! Thanks for dropping a comment, keep up the awesome work on your blog, it is very interesting and we love it!! Take care girl!!

  4. Amazing post!! I really needed that information. Hubby has been having major tooth pain past couple days so we can definitely relate to this. Does tooth decay get worst with a higher dose? I'm really paranoid about my teeth and spend quite abit of money fixing them every year. I haven't gone for a cleaning in many years but Ill make sure to book one soon. I've been lucky enough that only my back teeth have been affected but I have a feeling my front teeth are going to be a problem soon. I brush my teeth every morning but often get lazy at night but Im really trying to change that especially because I can't stop drinking pepsi even at night. I do take vitamins with extra calcium which probably helps but I need something more then just water to help with dryness at night. Ill look into some biotene toothpaste or spay for at night. Im thinking pro-enamel toothpaste would probably be good too in the morning to protect against acid all day and then using biotene at night to prevent dryness (especially being a mouth breather). Thanks you so much for this info. Its really great. :)

    1. Hey Chelsie thanks for the comment! I remember you had mentioned methadone and teeth before and I did say I would write on it, so I am so happy you found it helpful! Sorry to hear about the hubby and feeling that excruciating pain! It makes me cranky! With the dose getting higher, no, it causes drying just the same as a smaller dose would! You r lucky to not have been affected and that you are vigilante about your teeth! It is worth taking care of them! With the pepsi though that could definetely be problematic if you don't get those sugars off teeth, especially at night! and if water isn't really hydrating your mouth then you definitely need to do anything you can to keep it moist in there! You do not want to lose that enamel! The calcium is good too, keep it up after the baby, becuzz pregnancy tends to take more of your vitamins from you! Keep taking care of those teeth and glad to have helped you out a bit! Take care and hope your hubby gets feeling better! :-)

  5. Hi everyone
    . Here's a update on how biotene works for me
    I've had such bad teeth due to dry mouth and decreased saliva from side effects of methadone.. why don't u drink water u ask? I DO (only temporarily fixes problem)

    So I picked some biotene up and was disappointed with the massive price of $12.99 /tube of toothpaste. Vs $1 colgate..
    Is there a difference?
    OH YEAAA!.
    I use twice someetimes three X per day (depending on what I eat) and my mouth feels instantly fresh,no more tooth pain(I had a severe tooth pain that caused me to go through bottle of.oraljel in no time.)

    I also notice.. I very rarely get dry mouth now
    .usually if I do..then ifa a reminder to use the biotene!.

    My teeth were getting baddlyyyy damaged and needdd all the care and hrlo it could take ..I'm blaming it in dehydration and little saliva to keep my teeth strong and away from bacteria.

    All in all.. if you are on methadone/and or medication that has dry mouth as a side effect... and if u have a few extra dollars to spend.. thwn forget your $5 expresso andtreat...and treat you teeth and gums to some biotene..
    Because let's.face it..
    $12.99 for.toothpaste that COULD potentially save your teeth...its a no brainer.

    1. Hey Adam that is great, you are right about the cost of it compared to a regular toothpaste, but if it is doing the job it claims it can do, then it is well worth it for sure! preventing further decay is worth any price which you pay! That is cool that it solved your tooth pain as well! They do get very painful! Thank you for giving us a detailed review on your experience with Biotene,I will be definitely tracking down some myself!
      Again Adam Thank you!!
      Just to let people know, we are in no way getting paid by this company to talk about this product!!

    2. I'm on it! My mouth isn't too awfully dry, but I'm sure it's more dry than say people not on any meds! I wake up with kind of dry lips, & have to like wipe them....(I know, Grosse right) . So I'm on it! I didn't know Biotine had a tooth paste. I thought the brand only had dry mouth sprays, & gargle wash, (I tried the other day) yuck! The taste is awful. I'm going to get the toothpaste. :) Thanx again!

    3. I personally chose the toothpadte because if I got the spray etc then. I thought id abuse(as in for overboard and either use to much r.never at all) .

      But the toothpaste jessica! Personally and in my opinion because it do taste fresh!! Let me.know how u find it! Let me and.maxe know!,

      Have a great day jessica ! :D

    4. Hey guys, it sounds like I am most definitely going to be buying some of this stuff! I don't like any rinses that taste like crap so I think i will stay away from that one, but the toothpaste sounds great! Thank you guys for commenting, it means so much! :-)

  6. Methadone maze> the best thing you.did did was.inform me on biotene
    And believe us (maze and me adam42059) that we.are.NOTT affiliated with the Biotene.™® company.
    Methsdone maze just blogs aboutthe ;how why and ifs that methsdone.does
    And maze made a very GREATT BLOG here about.these.sort.of.things

    Let's.face it.. for $12.99 (give or take) should last u few weeks (?) And your.teeth... u want to last FOREVER.

    Jessica- ur on it too? Awesome!
    And yup also

    Sometimes people with history.of.drug.use and that comes (sometimes) lack of.regular daily oral hygiene
    a biotene seeems and so far helps with restoring some of the damage . :)
    My teeth are still.all.there except for one its on my side. But self esteem and confidence is greatly
    Effected by how your oral hygenie is and teeth are
    Myself I am so glad that @methadonemaze informed.me about biotene and how it salivate your teeth and gums

    .because I.M.O dry mouth causes bacteria and.bad breath .

    Stay clean,try to stay active, and stay healthy!..

    Did I mention stay CLEAN!
    Any other q's about this topic you can follow either @methadonemaze or me @adamwells42059

    I hope.this helps someone who s struggling with methadone OR any drug.and has.to suffer.the consequences from.the side effects of the drugs on the teeth etc

    There is a way
    Its.methadone just ask your doctor and. If methadone and or bioteblne is rifht for.you!

    1. Thank you Adam for your feedback! Thanks also for mentioning again that we are not being paid for this (although that would be nice right! Lol) I really appreciate your kind words about us and the blog, it means so much to me! You r right about the cost, it is well worth it if it will help save your teeth!! That is great that we can all come together and discuss these problems we experience! There is so much misinformation out there and a lot of times it does not help to solve your problems! Damage to your teeth definitely affects your self-esteem no matter how small! I am happy too have given you some help. Thank you Adam and Jessica! And yes you can definitely follow Adam on twitter also to speak with him about this! Stay clean, stay active and stay healthy most definitely! Thank you guys so much for the support!

    2. LOL "I'm on it" meaning, I'm going out to buy some Biotene tooth paste with a quickness! I'm also "on it" meaning on methadone treatment! Lol! Just to clarify...Haha! Thanx so much! You have a second day also!

      So, just got some AWFUL news this morning, a really good friend of mine over dosed & died this morning from pills. I wish I could have got her into this treatment. She leaves behind a 7 year old son.

    3. LOL! I knew what you meant Jessica! That is great and I hope it works well for you! That is horrible news Jessica, I am so very sorry to hear that, do not blame yourself, we always have a tendency to do that and we shouldn't take it on ourselves, you can't force someone into treatment. I feel terrible for her son, he's still so young but not so young that he will forget his mommy. Our prayers go out to you and to her family! If you need to talk just email me okay. sorry you have to go through such a tough emotional time.

    4. So sorry for your loss, Jessica. Addiction is incredibly powerful. Wish you and those left behind all the best <3


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