Meth Mouth in the Workplace

In the workplace environment, drug testing is necessary in order to keep a check on illicit and unprofessional behavior. Drug and alcohol testing must be performed at routine intervals, so that irresponsible employee behavior can be identified early on and dealt with appropriately. It is important to recognize some of the signs of drug abuse. While alcoholism can exhibit as tough, aged, leathery skin, drugs exhibit in other ways, such as “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is the combination of oral side effects which result from methamphetamine abuse.

Methamphetamine destroys teeth in a unique way, which no other drug seems to mimic. [1] Meth causes teeth to turn gray or brown and to twist out, break out or fall out, depending upon the fragmentation involved. The teeth lose their hardness and even become soft and mushy, like ripe fruit. The tooth loss is so great that incidents of highly sensitive, short black stubs being found in 17 year olds is high among young meth abusers, and dentures must be worn in order to function normally without their teeth. Dentists who work in areas of high meth lab concentrations find that most of their work consists of digging for roots, for those are the only remaining parts of the teeth found in addicts.

What are the various forms of decay found with meth mouth?

“Meth mouth” exhibits through different types of muscle trismus, enamel erosion, xerostomia, bruxism, and rampant caries. Muscle trismus is the inability to open the mouth to full capacity, and in the past, the term was also associated with lock-jaw. Enamel is the thin, hard outer layer or coating of the tooth, which is the hardest compound found in the body. Enamel erosion means that the inner layer of softer dentin within the tooth is exposed to heat, temperature change, wear-and-tear, food staining. Without the enamel, the entire tooth becomes worn down to nothing. Xerostomia (or “cottonmouth”) is extreme dryness of the mouth, due to lack of saliva production, which is common in meth mouth. Bruxism is unintentional and continuous grinding, clamping and clenching of the teeth, and can lead to enamel erosion, even in healthy mouths. Rampant caries is tooth decay, tooth fracture, cavities and holes in the teeth, all due to bacterial growth. Think of how much damage a vine can do to a stone wall. This is the equivalent inside your mouth, so be sure to floss your teeth, in addition to brushing them, so as to remove these tiny pieces of bacteria! As you can see, meth mouth is highly dangerous to your oral care, and can be easily identified among your employees and office personnel. Contact CMM Technology today for your drug and alcohol testing equipment: +618-9204-2500.

1. Davey, Monica. “Grisly Effect of One Drug: ‘Meth Mouth’.” New York Times 11 June 2005: unknown. VA Dental. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

2. “Methamphetamine abuse and “meth mouth”. [Northwest Dent. 2005 Sep-Oct] – PubMed result.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16317979.

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