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The effect of methamphetamine use on our teeth

The rise in illegal drug use is a source of concern – specifically the production and use of methamphetamines, which is a strong stimulant drug, given its impact on society.

Crystal, meth and tik are just some of the common street names for this highly addictive drug. Use of this drug can and will cause serious problems to the mouth, especially the teeth. The mouth of a methamphetamine user is also referred to as a meth mouth because of the presentation of tooth decay in the user’s mouth. The tooth decay presenting in the user’s mouth is sometimes so advanced that the only option is extraction. Methamphetamines also dry the protective saliva from around the teeth. Methamphetamines users also experience a ‘high’ for approximately 12 hours, and during this high time, the user probably will not brush or floss his/her teeth, thus leaving substances of a sugary nature on their teeth. It is during this time of 12 hours that the user will crave sugary drinks that are carbonated and bad for the teeth.

There is not much that a dentist can do for methamphetamine users but to extract teeth that are decayed. Another option is drug counselling aimed at educating the methamphetamine user on the effects of the drug, but the treatment for methamphetamine addiction is usually an ongoing, long and slow process.

Last Updated on 6 June 2018 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs