Drug users warned of dental health risks

Users of the drug methamphetamine are being warned that they could be doing serious damage to their teeth.

The drug, also known as meth, crystal and speed, is used mainly by people between the ages of 18 and 34 and is a powerfully addictive drug that can damage oral health and leave affected people unable to chew properly, the American Dental Association (ADA) warns.

Users suffering from the drug addiction can experience tooth loss within the space of just a year as a result of a condition widely known as '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," the association's president, Dr Robert Brandjord, warned.

"Meth mouth is characterised by rampant tooth decay and teeth described by meth users as blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart," he continued.

Dr Brandjord said that the tooth decay was due to a combination of the dry-mouth effect experienced by users, tooth grinding, long periods of poor oral hygiene among users, and the drug's tendency to cause cravings for high-calorie beverages.

Users are therefore advised to seek treatment for drug addiction to avoid becoming a victim of the serious and fast-working effects that methamphetamine can have on dental health.

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