Methamphetamine use and dental disease: results of a pilot study

J Dent Child (Chic). 2007 May-Aug;74(2):85-92.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using a standard dental examination to detect methamphetamine use.

Methods: Data were collected from 31 patients in a hospital-based inpatient chemical dependency treatment unit using cross-sectional study design. Patients who reported current methamphetamine use were compared with patients who denied methamphetamine use on data from dental examinations and an in-depth substance use assessment.

Results: Evidence of a relationship between methamphetamine use and dental disease was not detected in this sample. Both groups had a high degree of behaviors and risk factors other than substance abuse that contributed to dental disease.

Conclusion: Based on these data, clients who used methamphetamine could not be distinguished from those who used other substances. Both groups presented significant dental disease, however, and it may be that most, if not all, patients in this hospital-based unit had significant chronic health problems including dental disease. Although adolescent use of methamphetamine is primarily restricted to older adolescents, consequences of use are severe and early identification of drug use may forestall some of the more severe consequences.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Oral
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Xerostomia / complications
  • Xerostomia / etiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine