The methamphetamine epidemic and dentistry

Gen Dent. 2006 Nov-Dec;54(6):431-9; quiz 440, 448.


Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant with limited therapeutic effects. This drug produces prolonged euphoria and is relatively inexpensive to purchase and easy to make and distribute. Methamphetamine changes normal physiologic processing of several centrally acting neurotransmitters and ultimately leads to neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration from chronic use. Chronic methamphetamine use has been associated with severe oral health effects; rampant caries is the most notable of these. Dental professionals must recognize patients who are involved with methamphetamine use and understand the risk factors associated with its deleterious oral effects so that preventive and treatment strategies may be implemented for patients who use this drug.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Confidentiality
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Parental Notification
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Xerostomia / chemically induced
  • Xerostomia / complications


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine