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 May 23, 2023

What is Coke Jaw?

Cocaine comes in second as the most trafficked illegal substance in the entire world. It is highly addictive and only takes one or a few uses to make the person dependent on the drug.

It may seem recreational fun for the person, but what they don’t realize is the devastation cocaine can havoc on your life. If you suspect a loved one is on cocaine, pinpointing the right symptoms is critical before considering an intervention or even drug rehab. One of the main giveaways is coke jaw. 

So, are you wondering what is coke jaw, and how to tell if a loved one is experiencing it? Keep reading for everything to know, including signs, symptoms, and treatments. 

What Is Coke Jaw? The Signs and Symptoms

Why Do Cocaine Users Grind Their Teeth?

You can take cocaine by ingesting it, rubbing it on your gums, or snorting the substance up your nose. Since it is a powerful stimulant drug, coke speeds up your entire body.

That leads to side effects like coke jaw clenching. The muscles in your mouth twitch in sporadic movements.

A person with coke jaw movements will grind their teeth and move their mouth from side to side in an erratic fashion. Coke jaw is a physical side effect that leads to other complications within the mouth. 

Perforation of Oral Palate

People often snort cocaine through the nasal cavity. When this happens, the drug constricts blood vessels in the nasal route of their oxygen supply.

That leads to necrosis, where the cells can no longer sustain themselves and die. When that happens, the cells and tissues in the septum deteriorate.

Since the nose and mouth connect, perforation of the oral palate occurs. The roof of the mouth goes into decline, making it difficult for the person to swallow, eat, and even speak. 


Bruxism is a teeth-grinding disorder. Many of us experience this even without using cocaine. We tend to grind our teeth in our sleep or subconsciously during the day.

But those who use cocaine experience heightened symptoms. The drug leads to an increase in abnormal teeth-grinding motions.

That leads to worn-down enamel, cavities, and brittle or broken teeth. Bruxism is also the top cause as to why people feel jaw pain after coke exposure. 

Dry Mouth

Crack cocaine can cause a decrease in saliva flow. That leads to something called Xerostomia, or dry mouth. While this doesn’t sound like a serious issue, the fact is that chronic oral dryness can lead to complications like tooth decay, bleeding gums, and gum disease. 

Dental Erosion

According to the American Dental Association, dental erosion is the loss of hard tissue on the teeth. Many factors can play a role in the loss of enamel, like your diet, acid reflux, and other lifestyle habits.

For your teeth to wear down, something has to coat them to mix with acid and bacteria. When people use cocaine as an oral drug, the powder covers their teeth.

Coke powder is a substance that is very high in acidity with a pH number of 4.5. If there is cocaine residue lingering on your teeth, it will eat away at the hard tissue.

But it won’t stop there. Cocaine powder will continue to wear down the other tissues that lie inside of your teeth, as well. Once this happens, it leads to missing teeth, infection, lacerations, and abrasions. 


Some people rub cocaine directly onto their gums. That is because any mucus cavity will accelerate the effects of a drug faster than ingestion.

By putting the drug on the gums, you risk inflammation that leads to periodontal disease. The periodontal tissue is what supports our teeth and keeps them alive and healthy.

But cocaine causes the resorption of the bone and tissue beneath our teeth. When this happens, our gums recede and retract, and our teeth are liable to fall out. 

Treatment for Coke Jaw and Drug Abuse

Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved pharmaceutical treatments to aid in drug abuse. Instead, the most effective is behavioral intervention by the family.

That means that loved ones of the drug user form a team and meet with the person in a safe, private area. The family and friends relay their worries and express a need for the other person to seek help for their addiction. 

Once they agree, then detox programs and rehab are the best choices. At these centers, the person goes through detoxification to flush the drugs out of the system.

The notion here is that once the drug detoxes from the body, the person can then move forward with a clear mind and tackle their underlying emotional issues.

Remedies for Coke Jaw at Restore Detox Center

At Restore Detox Center, we provide medical assessment and evaluation to formulate the best treatment possible. We then stabilize the patient and guide them through their withdrawals.

During this time, we provide medication to ease withdrawal stress. We also alter the diet and nutrition to ensure the patient receives the appropriate nutrients and vitamins. Afterward, you are ready to transition to a treatment program that will help you reduce your dependency on cocaine and other substances. 

The entire time you are in our center, you not only have the support of 24-hour staff but your friends and family as well. During your time at one of these facilities, you can attend support groups where others who suffer from drug abuse share their experiences.

Attending these sessions will help you realize you are not alone and that help is possible. Detox and rehab treatments depend on the individual. However, they can last anywhere between 30-90 days.  

What Other Drugs Cause Involuntary Jaw Movements?

The involuntary jaw movement drugs can cause is not limited to just cocaine. Cocaine and other drugs, specifically some antipsychotic drugs, both cause the same teeth grinding symptoms. Stimulant drugs, including amphetamines, can also cause involuntary jaw movements in some cases. 

Is There An Elevated Risk of Oral Cancer from Cocaine Use?

Cocaine symptoms, jaw and otherwise, are not the only issues with use of this highly addictive drug. Research indicates that cocaine users may have a significantly greater chance of developing oral cancer due to use of the drug. 

This research makes it clear that cocaine teeth grinding and the question “why do cocaine users rub their teeth?” are far from the end of the concerns with cocaine use. Cocaine poses serious risks to your health and it is worth doing whatever it takes to quit.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Coke Jaw

The best coke jaw remedies are seeking treatment and embracing the advantages of drug rehab. Rather than making an attempt at detoxing on your own, it’s far better to get help from professionals like the team at Restore Detox Centers. 

We know how hard it can be to break free from addiction to cocaine and other drugs. Side effects of cocaine use like involuntary jaw movements can be troubling, but not nearly as troubling as the impacts on your personal life and overall health. 

That’s why seeking professional help — and perhaps even finding solace in the power of Cocaine Anonymous — can change your life by helping you get the resources and motivation you need to stop the cycle of addiction and get back to a more fulfilling, healthy life.

If you’re dealing with a cocaine problem, we want to help. Contact Restore Detox Centers today to learn more about how we can help you handle your addiction and stay drug-free.

Find a Detox Center

As you can tell, there are several signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse. Things like deteriorating teeth, mood swings, increased alcohol intake, and bizarre behavior may be signs that someone you love is using.

And, remember, if you find yourself addicted to cocaine, watch out for the symptoms of health decline. If you asked yourself, what is coke jaw, we hope this article helped you understand how to spot the signs and symptoms.

If you or someone you care for has an addiction, it may be time to find a detox center that can help with treatment for both drugs and alcohol. At Restore Detox Centers, we are here to get you the help you need. Do not hesitate to contact us today and take your first step to treatment. 

About Restore

Are you or someone you care about struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in San Diego, California? Look no further than Restore Detox Centers, the leading 24-hour residential treatment facility. Our dedicated team is committed to providing effective rehabilitation services tailored to your individual needs.

We understand the challenges you face on your path to recovery, which is why we offer a comprehensive range of programs, including medically assisted detox and residential treatment. Our ultimate goal is to guide you towards a life free from addiction and help you achieve long-term success. 

Rest assured that our facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, guaranteeing the highest standards of quality and safety. You can rely on our compassionate team of professionals to support you every step of the way. 

If you're ready to take the first step towards healing, don't hesitate to contact Restore Detox Centers today. Let us be your trusted partner in your journey to recovery.

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