This literature review will focus on the effects of usingmethamphetamine, often abbreviated as meth, on dental health.
Four scholarlyarticles have been analyzed and summarized to determine that methamphetamine isa destructive drug where a substantial number of users develop many undesirablesymptoms that are often referred to as “meth mouth”.Dr. Shaikh’s article, “Meth Mouth,” serves as an informativetext to dental professionals explaining the effects of methamphetamine use and howsevere the negative impact is on a dental patient’s oral health. “Dentalpatients who abuse methamphetamine can present with poor oral hygiene,xerostomia, rampant caries (‘Meth mouth’), and excessive tooth wear.” Thisarticle discusses how the illicit abuse of methamphetamine causes “dentalcaries, oral manifestations, periodontal disease, bruxism, xerostomia, oralulcers, dental pain, and more” with intentions of educating dentalpractitioners on these problems and how to better recognize and manage dentalpatients who are methamphetamine abusers (Shaikh, S. S., Modi, P., & Munde, A.
D., 2014).A study took place in Western Cape, South Africa where 308self-reported users of methamphetamine were evaluated in order to determine theeffects on dental and oral health. Accordingto the study, users of methamphetamine brush their teeth significantly lessthan nonusers, are missing more teeth, and have excessive tooth decay causedpartially by the mouth-drying effects of the drug and a user’s craving toremoisten the mouth by drinking soda. The study reveals that the longer apatient abuses the drug, specifically for longer than four years, the higherthe risk of developing “meth mouth” becomes. (Smit, D.
A., & Naidoo, S., 2015). According to the article, “A Comparison of Methamphetamine Users to a Matched NHANES Cohort:Propensity Score Analyses for Oral Health Care and Dental Service Need,”users of methamphetamine are “3.
5 times more likely to experience painfultoothaches, 6.6 times to experience difficulty eating, and 8.6 times to beself-conscious due to dental appearance.” The study depicted in the articletested 459 methamphetamine users from Los Angeles who were at least 18 years ofage, had used methamphetamine within the past month, and who were able to completevarious examinations, including providing a urine sample. The study concludedthat methamphetamine usage has a significant effect on oral health,specifically resulting in poor oral hygiene, lack of routine dental care,missing teeth, and poor overall conditions of teeth and gums (Murphy, D. A.
, Harrell, L.,Fintzy, R., Belin, T. R., Gutierrez, A.
, Vitero, S. J., & Shetty, V.
, 2016). In the article, “Self-Reported OralHealth Needs and Dental-Care Seeking BehaviorAmongWomen Who Use Methamphetamine,” researchers conducted a study collectingself-reported data from women who use methamphetamines. The study states that86% of the participants reported that they have needed oral health care in thepast 6 months, and of that 86%, only 19.6% actually received oral health care.The study notes, “We did not find an association between the ingestion route,frequency, or number of years of methamphetamine use and self-reported oralhealth need,” however, the study was able to determine that 57% of theparticipants were homeless, resulting in an increased rate of poor oral hygieneand care (Robbins, J.L., Lorvick, J., Lutnick, A.
, Wenger, L., & Kral, A. H., 2012). Reviewing the four academic articlescited in this literature review conclude that methamphetamine usage affectsdental health in an extremely poor manner.
Common symptoms, often referred toas “meth mouth,” consisting of rampant caries, xerostomia, infrequent oralhygiene, and an increased consumption of soda drinks, are experienced by manymethamphetamine users. These articles suggest that illicit abuse ofmethamphetamine will result in serious oral health problems.