Methamphetamine Destroys Your Teeth

"Meth mouth" is too dry

By Stefan Anitei on September 25th, 2006 12:53 GMT
American Dental Association (ADA) says that your teeth can be destroyed by methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive drug.

Once it enters a person's body, it provokes a release of a great amount of dopamine, leading to the typical euphoria. Short-term effects include extreme wakefulness, a lasting boost of energy and a lack of appetite. Long-term effects include a high blood pressure, stroke and serious heart problems.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crank, crystal and speed) has been used by more than 12 million people in US. It can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked. Most users are 18 to 34 years old. In just one year, the drug users can achieve sensitive teeth to tooth loss, a condition called " meth mouth".

"Meth mouth robs people, especially young people of their teeth and frequently leads to full-mouth extractions and a lifetime of wearing dentures," says Robert M. Brandjord, ADA president. "Meth mouth is characterized by rampant tooth decay and teeth described by meth users as blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart."

The drug inhibits salivary glands' activity. Without the diluting saliva, food or bacteria produced acids in your mouth start dissolving tooth enamel. Moreover, the drug users may neglect their oral hygiene.

And methamphetamine effect can last for 12 hours. During this time, personal hygiene may not enter on the view of the drugged person.

Dr. Brandjord explains, "The extensive tooth decay of meth mouth is attributed to the drug's dry-mouth effect and its propensity to cause cravings for high-calorie carbonated beverages, tooth grinding and clenching, and extended periods of poor oral hygiene."

"Very few people understand the broad dangers methamphetamine poses to the public health of our communities in addition to meth users themselves," says Stephen Pasierb, president and CEO, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

"The ADA's warning should serve as a wake-up call to those who use this insidious drug as well as family and friends who are witness to this behavior, but not powerless to intervene and get the user the help they need. There is no safe level of meth use, but treatment and recovery are possible."
  
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