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J Am Dent Assoc. 2008 Feb;139(2):171-6.

Comparing diet, oral hygiene and caries status of adult methamphetamine users and nonusers: a pilot study.

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Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, University of Iowa College of Dentistry, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



Methamphetamine users are reported to have marginal dietary habits and high caries rates. The authors compared retrospective dietary patterns, oral hygiene behaviors and current oral health status of methamphetamine users and nonusers in a pilot study.


Eighteen adults with a history of methamphetamine use (methamphetamine users) and 18 age- and sex-matched control subjects (nonusers) completed retrospective questionnaires concerning meal patterns, food group intakes, beverage habits, oral hygiene behaviors, smoking behaviors and drug use. The authors performed oral examinations to identify the number of remaining teeth, the number of teeth with obvious decay and presence of visible plaque.


Methamphetamine users were more likely to snack without eating defined meals (P = .026), consume regular soda pop (that is, carbonated beverage with sugar) (P = .018), never brush their teeth (P < .001) and smoke (P < .001) than were nonusers. Users had more visible plaque (P < .001), fewer molars (P = .001) and more decay on anterior teeth (P < .001), premolars (P < .001) and molars (P < .001) than did nonusers.


The results of this pilot study are consistent with anecdotal reports; methamphetamine users have more gross caries than do nonusers. Marginal dietary and oral hygiene behaviors associated with methamphetamine use likely increase caries risk.


Patients at risk or suspected of using methamphetamine require detailed oral hygiene instruction and extensive dietary counseling.

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