What happened to Johnny Depp’s teeth?

Walt Disney Pictures

Unfortunately for Johnny Depp, his teeth are not represented by Camille Vasquez.

Surprisingly, the topic of what happened to Johnny Depp’s teeth has stirred interest and has been written about by numerous outlets. Of course, this is mostly because anything Depp-related is a popular topic to write about but we still wondered why anyone would care so much about his teeth. We considered contacting the tooth fairy for a comment, but then we decided to take a slightly different approach.

So, as we dive into examining Johnny Depp’s tooth decay, we also realize that there is a bit of a deeper story to uncover.

Depp’s teeth deterioration can sadly be linked to his childhood abuse. They tell a story of a man who dove into heavy addiction as a way to cope with being abused as a child. The substances he used for decades to cope with his past finally caught up to him — and his teeth.

Over the years, his drug use became more and more prevalent, more and more frequent, and more and more troublesome. Depp would even take on numerous roles where his character was a drug user, practically mimicking his then-life. Nonetheless, he managed to be tremendously successful in spite of it all and it likely only helped push him more into drug use which, ironically, is really a form of self-abuse.

That abuse ruined his teeth but let’s quickly look into the specific reasons how before we explain the abuse he suffered as a child. 

Jack Sparrow likes his rum

Similar to his Pirates of the Caribbean character, Johnny Depp never seemed to have enough alcohol. He even admitted that he spent about $30,000 a month on wine. When you consider the high acidity of wine — which can do a number on anyone’s teeth if consumed regularly — then imagine what an unusually high consumption of wine can do. Numerous studies have concluded that it can also cause teeth to turn yellow due to the deterioration of the enamel. We assume that this especially true when drinking wine in “mega-pints.”

An ironic side note is that he met Amber Heard on the set of The Rum Diary.

Fear and smoking in Las Vegas

Johnny Depp portrayed Hunter S. Thompson in the film, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The movie shows endless drug use and Depp practically smokes non-stop on screen. Such aspects of the film not only serve as biographical for its subject but also for Depp who has been smoking for decades, saying he started at the age of 12.

Depp became quite close with Thompson and, after Thompson died in 2005, Depp spent $5 million dollars to shoot his ashes out of a cannon near where Thompson had lived in Colorado. It seems like Depp could afford to spend some money fixing his teeth and we can’t quite come up with a good reason as to why he wouldn’t, but then again, to each his own.

In regards to smoking, well, it’s pretty common knowledge that smoking cigarettes can do harm to your teeth (and harm to your health). It not only causes teeth to turn yellow but can also cause tooth loss and gum disease. In some cases, it can even cause cancer. When you think about it further, it’s almost miraculous that Depp hasn’t suffered any serious health issues from any of his vices.

Don’t Blow it

Depp starred in the 2001 film Blow about cocaine smuggler George Jung. It turns out that Depp also took a liking to cocaine. Though it’s unclear when he began this particular habit, he admitted on the stand during the recent Depp-Heard trial that he did cocaine, including a couple times with Marilyn Manson.

Cocaine can also have a negative effect on your teeth, which is obviously minor to the negative effect it can have on your life. According to Banyan Treatment Centers, who provide drug and alcohol addiction treatment, the common effects of cocaine on the teeth include, “enamel erosion, perforation of the palate, periodontitis or retracted gums, dry mouth, cavities, and more.”

Depp’s poisonous relationship

In a 2005 Rolling Stone interview — and in a later People interview — Johnny Depp said, “I spent years poisoning myself.”

What caused Depp’s dive into drug use? You would have to go back to his childhood to find the answer.

Depp has admitted that shortly after he starting smoking cigarettes (at the age of 12), he started drinking alcohol — and drug use wasn’t not too long after. He noted on trial that his drug use was meant to “numb the residual pain from my youth.”

Depp tried to quit his cocaine habit but only succeeded temporarily. His long-time friend, Bruce Witkin, noted that Depp hated cocaine as a teenager so he was surprised to witness Depp taking cocaine decades later. He said about Depp, “It’s deep-rooted issues that he’s dealt with.”

A childhood of abuse

To put it plainly, Depp and his siblings were abused by their mother. Depp said, “She had the ability to be as cruel as anyone can be.”

Depp went on to describe his mother as being violent towards them, stating that it would not be uncommon for her to throw an ashtray at them or smack them upside the head with “a high-heeled shoe or telephone or whatever was handy.”

Depp’s sister, Christi Dembrowski, testified at the Depp-Heard trial about her mother’s abuse towards her and her brother. “She would hit us. She would throw things. We would run and hide.”

Their mother, Betty Sue Palmer, passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.

Christi added, “None of what was happening in our home felt good.”

She and Depp both testified that their mother was also violent to their father, whom Depp described as a kind man who was shy yet stoic. When Depp was 15, their parents divorced and around this time, Depp began turning to alcohol and drugs.

Christi further explained that she and her brother promised to not be like their mother. “As we were older, we decided that once we had our own home, that we were never going to repeat in our own home anything similar to our childhood.”

Now 59, Johnny Depp has lived a life of substance abuse tied to the childhood abuse he suffered. His teeth may not have survived it very well, but that doesn’t stop him from smiling.