American Dental Association Lauds 'Meth Mouth' Bill

Dr. John S. Findley, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), applauded Capitol Hill legislators for introducing a federal bill aimed at understanding and treating "meth mouth"--a condition where teeth can become blackened, stained, rotting, and crumbling from methamphetamine use.

"This condition robs the young and old alike of their oral health, thereby jeopardizing their overall health," Findley said. "It can lead to a lifetime of wearing dentures. We applaud these senators for helping us to better understand causes of this health condition."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced the bill on Feb. 13. It is co-sponsored by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

If passed into law, ADA said the bill will fund local, school-based initiatives to educate students about the oral health aspects of meth use. It will also enhance federal research and promote a series of continuing education activities for dentists to learn more about substance use disorders and their relationship to oral health and dental care.

Findley expressed his strong approval of the bill as little is known about the actual causes of meth mouth; however, it is known that the drug can cause dry mouth, which in turn can increase dental caries (tooth decay). Drug users also have a tendency to grind and clench their teeth. Few studies have been published about its prevalence, causes, or its cost to the public.

For more information, visit ADA's Web site at www.ada.org.

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