Speed, chalk, ice, crystal, glass. No matter what you call the addictive stimulant, Methamphetamine use is skyrocketing and so is the number of cases of meth mouth across the nation. Dulled and rotting smiles plagued by oral health issues such as tooth loss, gum disease and tooth decay are all considered symptoms of heavy methamphetamine use, and that is nothing to smile about.Kindly visit
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that over 10 million Americans have tried methamphetamine and more than 1.4 million are habitual users of the substance. The last results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that 850,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being questioned (2008). The number is so large as the white, odorless, bitter tasting power drug is versatile and can be consumed in a number of ways, including snorting, shooting and smoking the drug.
No matter how the drug is ingested, those statistics are alarming. Methamphetamine is toxic to the nervous system and can cause numerous health problems. Meth users usually get hooked on the drug as they may feel alert, awake and ready to conquer the world, but behind the scenes users are at a greater risk for:
Developing health issues related to the rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, raised blood pressure and increased body temperature caused by ingesting the substance.
-Sleep disorders including insomnia
Dental problems in methamphetamine users are also known as “meth mouth” and typical characteristics of the condition include blackened, stained, rotting and crumbling teeth. The drug itself is not the cause of the dental issues, but users on a high from the substance will be at a greater risk for:
-Bruxism: Bruxism is also known as teeth clenching and grinding and the act can cause enamel damage. When high, meth users have no concept of how often they are clenching and grinding and that can lead to worn down and cracked tooth enamel.
-Lack of Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing daily are essential components associated with good oral health. However, a healthy smile will be the last concern of a habitual meth user. Neglect is one such issue that can lead to tooth decay.
-Dry Mouth: Saliva production is essential to oral health as the natural process can rinse the mouth of bacteria and spare food particles. However, meth may cause a person to nod off for days, sleep with their mouths open and slow down the natural production of the fluid. That lack of moisture can increase tooth decay concentrated (but not exclusive) to the gum line.
New research indicates that dentists may be the first line of defense in diagnosis the condition of meth mouth and may be able to find closeted drug users among their patients. With this knowledge, it would be up to the oral health care practitioner to help their patient get both the medical and dental treatment they need to help curb their addictions. In response to this thinking, The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse recently granted the UCLA School of Dentistry a whopping $1.86 million to study the oral and dental consequences of methamphetamine use.
If you are a former meth addict, congratulations on your recovery! Even if your body is clean, your mouth probably reflects the damage you did during your drug binges. Cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and help hide some of the side effects of your past indiscretions and an affordable dental plan can offset the expenses associated with rebuilding your smile.