Methamphetamine may Seriously Damage the Teeth

Methamphetamine may Seriously Damage the Teeth

Methamphetamine / methylamphetamine / desoxyephedrine is a psychostimulant drug used primarily for recreational purposes, but is sometimes prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy under the brand name Desoxyn. Methamphetamine is highly psychologically addictive.


It rapidly enters the brain and causes a cascading release of norepinephrine and dopamine (and to a lesser extent, serotonin) resulting in
euphoria and the availability of undirected energy. Users may become obsessed or perform repetitive tasks such as cleaning, hand-washing or assembling and disassembling objects.It is also sold as a less-pure crystalline powder called meth, crank, crystal and speed or in crystalline rock form.Colourful flavored pills containing methamphetamine and caffeine are known as yaba.

Methamphetamine is most structurally similar to methcathinone and amphetamine. In illicit production, it is commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Most of the necessary chemicals are readily available in household products or over-the counter medicines.
Synthesis is relatively simple, but most methods involve flammable and corrosive chemicals. As a result, clandestine production is often discovered due to fires caused by amateur chemists working with makeshift laboratory equipment.

Methamphetamine addicts may lose their teeth abnormally fast, a condition known as "meth mouth". Similar, though far less severe symptoms have been reported in clinical use of other amphetamines, where effects are not exacerbated by a lack of oral hygiene for extended periods. It may ruins a person's smile and natural ability to chew, recently the American Dental Association warns.

Dentists are seeing "more and more of a condition that we call 'meth mouth,'" said Dr. Robert

Brandjord, a practicing oral surgeon in Burnsville, Minnesota, and president of the ADA.

In just 1 year's time, meth users can go from having healthy teeth to extensive tooth decay and eventually tooth loss, according to Brandjord. "Often the teeth cannot be salvaged and must be extracted," the ADA states in educational materials posted on their web site (www.ada.org).

The extensive tooth decay is due to methamphetamine's acidic nature, which destroys tooth-protecting enamel, and its tendency to dry the mouth, robbing it of saliva, which is essential to keep the mouth clean.

Moreover, a methamphetamine "high" lasts much longer than a crack cocaine high (12 hours versus 1 hour) and this can lead to long periods when users are unlikely to think about cleaning their teeth.

While high on meth, users often crave high-calorie, carbonated sugar-packed beverages and users often grind and clench their teeth.

"Meth mouth" can rob users, "especially young people, of their teeth and frequently leads to full-mouth extractions and a lifetime of wearing dentures," Brandjord said.

According to the a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 12 million Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamine, which can be swallowed, injected, snorted or smoked. The majority of users are between 18 and 34 years of age.

"Very few people understand the broad dangers methamphetamine poses," said Stephen Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership for a Drug-Free America in a statement.

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