Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
January 09, 2005
As the number of regular users of the illegal drug methamphetamine has increased, so has a peculiar set of dental problems linked to the drug, a phenomenon appropriately named "meth mouth." Symptoms include gum disease, broken and cracked teeth, and tooth decay.
With the burgeoning use of methamphetamine, a ripple effect has flooded the state's court systems and now its prison population. A quarter of all state inmates now are drug offenders, half of them for methamphetamine, a drug that wasn't represented at all on the prison rolls as recently as 2000.
One offshoot of methamphetamine abuse also appears to be insatiable appetite for high-caffeine, high-sugar sodas, particularly Mountain Dew. That can combine with the frenetic nature of the drug, letting users go for long periods without good hygiene.
"When abusers are 'doing the Dew,' they'll go for days without brushing their teeth or washing or sleeping," said Dr. Mark Legan, a dentist who treats patients at Lino Lakes.