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Methamphetamine: Implications for the Dental Team

Course Number: 332

Oral Ulcers and Infections

Oral ulcerations and infections are common among methamphetamine users. When smoked or snorted, the caustic ingredients of the drug bathe the oral cavity and irritate and burn the oral tissues. This leads to significant oral ulcerations and infections. This is also brought on by the severe dry mouth that accompanies the use of meth. Xerostomia is caused by vasoconstriction and reduction of salivary gland function.11 The tongue and lining of the mouth can become raw and irritated without the surfactant action of saliva. This can lead to secondary infections and limited ability to speak and eat.28