Illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse can cause as many oral cavity problems as sugar and poor brushing habits. Drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine can lead to discoloration, tooth decay and other dental problems. A recent medical article talks about the importance of knowing the side effects drug abuse can have on your teeth. The problems are often long-term and irreversible. Substance abuse plays a huge role in poor oral health. When an addict uses cocaine on a regular basis, problems like palate perforation, lesions on the gums and grinding teeth are probable. Grinding of the teeth can gradually break down the tooth's surface, too. Cocaine addiction also increases the chances that a medical emergency could happen during treatment at the dentist's office. A recent study shows that a delay in dental procedures is suggested if a patient is under the influence of cocaine. The delay could be anywhere from six to 24 hours. It's no secret that sugar and sodas can cause tooth decay. Because heroin use increases the cravings for sugar and sugary beverages, tooth decay is very prevalent among heroin addicts. Methamphetamine use is another drug that causes big problems in the mouth. This illegal drug causes the user to clinch their jaw frequently and grind their teeth. This inevitably leads to erosion of the enamel on the teeth. Dry mouth and the complete disregard for oral hygiene for long periods of time also leads to tooth decay. The acidic components in meth are attributed to cause many of these side effects and tooth decay. Addiction to ecstasy causes many of the same problems as methamphetamine. The cravings for sugar, teeth clinching and poor brushing habits cause both surface loss and tooth decay.