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Oral health problems are prevalent among people who use drugs, alcohol
Updated: 4/19/2011 7:00:06 PM

Many drug users suffer from serious cases of tooth decay Most people who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse also suffer from oral health conditions, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Researchers asked a group of participants who regularly used alcohol, stimulants, opioids or marijuana to rate their dental health on a scale ranging from one to five.

The study's findings showed that 60 percent of the subjects reported that their mouths were in either fair or poor condition. Moreover, the results indicated that opioid users were the most likely to experience dental health problems.

Lead researcher Meredith D'Amore said the investigation's conclusion indicates that, "Oral health should be considered a significant health problem among individuals with substance dependence and providers should be aware of potential oral health issues."

According to the American Dental Association, the term "meth mouth" refers to the stained or decayed nature of teeth in individuals who use the illicit drug methamphetamine. The organization notes that this substance may promote tooth erosion because it is highly acidic. Drug addiction has also been associated with dry mouth, teeth grinding and prolonged period of neglected oral care.

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