An Illegal Drug’s Devastating Dental Effects

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Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant, and use of this illegal drug is on the rise in the U.S. One of the most obvious signs that a person is abusing meth (also known as crystal meth) is the dramatic deterioration of their appearance-most notably, perhaps, the teeth.

Aside from the terrible effects this drug can have on a person’s health, one’s smile can be completely destroyed. In fact, dentists have coined the term “meth mouth” to describe these aesthetic and functional consequences of meth use. The American Dental Association reports that users often describe their teeth as “blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart.”

Even when a meth user has successfully quit this addictive substance, it is often too late for their smile. When too much damage has been done, a person may need all of his or her teeth extracted, consequently requiring dentures or dental implants.

Earlier this year, in an effort to teach American youth about the dental repercussions of meth use, legislators introduced a bill that will fund preventative education, as well as federal research to help learn more about the link between meth and tooth decay.

“This condition robs the young and old alike of their oral health, thereby jeopardizing their overall health,” Dr. John S. Findley, president of the ADA, said about meth mouth. “It can lead to a lifetime of wearing dentures. We applaud these senators for helping us to better understand causes of this health condition.”

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