Dental health problems can sometimes indicate larger overall health problems, whether it is connected to the heart, bone health or eating habits.
Now, the California Dental Hygienists' Association is aiming to raise awareness about the role that regular dental checkups play in identifying methamphetamine abuse.
When providing dental care, dental hygienists are trained to keep a lookout for signs of drug use, as well as directing people toward treatment as needed.
Symptoms of methamphetamine use that dental hygienists look for include tooth deterioration, a disheveled appearance, grinding of teeth, irritability, a pale complexion and clammy skin.
"The role of the dental professional is vital in early intervention because one of the first signs of meth use appears in the mouth," said CDHA president Noel Kelsch.
This is not the first time the CDHA has highlighted its role in helping people quit addictive substances.
Last year, the association urged smokers to give up the habit, providing patients with a phone number for a helpline devoted to this purpose.
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