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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220911 Find in a Library
Title: Oral Health Effects of Illegal Drug Abuse
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:69  Issue:5  Dated:October 2007  Pages:54-56
Author(s): A. N. Morton
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 3
Type: Instructional Material; Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the consequences of methamphetamine use and other drug use on dental health.
Abstract: Individuals who have used methamphetamine for several days experience suppressed appetites and dry mouth, which decreases sugar amounts circulating in their blood, causing them to crave a liquid stimulant. Soda and sweetened tea are popular options. Over time, this causes serious dental problems for teeth that likely have not been brushed or flossed during the period of heavy drug use. The sugar and liquid provide a suitable medium for the buildup of bacterial plaque on the surface of the teeth, aided by the dryness of mouth. Tooth decay results, beginning at the neck of the tooth. The combined effects cause meth users to clench their teeth and grind them, sometimes resulting in teeth breaking off. Heroin and cocaine abusers also experience rampant tooth decay. Both heroin and cocaine produce a dry mouth similar to that caused by methamphetamine, and these drugs may also cause craving for sugar. Drug abusers of all types tend to avoid tooth brushes, dental floss, and the dentist. The dental needs of drug abusers are overwhelming the resources of many correctional dental clinics. Offenders with a high rate of tooth decay can be educated about dietary habits that encourage dental disease and how to change these habits. This includes information on reducing both the quantity and frequency of their consumption of sugary and starchy foods. The battle against dental disease in a correctional setting requires the help of the entire correctional team in educating, monitoring, and treating the dental consequences of behavioral habits associated with the physical effects of drug use. 1 figure
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Dental analysis; Drug effects; Heroin; Inmate health; Inmate health care; Medical and dental services; Methamphetamines
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