Health - Implant Dentist News

Jul 30, 2010 4:18 PM by Craig Palmer

NIH invests $1.86 million in 'meth mouth' research

The UCLA School of Dentistry will use a $1.86 million award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to expand research reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association on the relationship between methamphetamine use and increased dental disease.

"Given that dental disease is a prominent comorbidity of methamphetamine use, dental professionals are in a unique position to help in the early detection of undisclosed MA use and participate as integral members of a collaborative care team tending to those who use MA," the UCLA research team said in JADA 2010 Mar; 141(3): 307-318.

Dr. Vivek Shetty, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and the project's principal investigator, aims to build on research described in JADA as "one of the first systematic investigations of the meth mouth phenomenon." More information on Methamphetamine Use and Oral Health (Meth Mouth) is available at

"Methamphetamine use is a persistent and pernicious social problem," Dr. No-Hee Park, UCLA dental dean, said in announcing the four-year study. "Dr. Shetty's research will address the 'meth mouth' issue with the scientific rigor that this public health issue deserves. Research projects such as this one underscore our school's commitment to improving the oral health of our communities and advancing clinical practice through scholarship."

"Our finding that dental disease is a prominent marker of methamphetamine use creates opportunities to implement targeted interventions in the dental office, a hitherto unexploited setting in the management of this epidemic," said Dr. Shetty.

The May 2010 NIDA Director's Report summarizes the JADA study and says the National Institute on Drug Abuse is developing a related research protocol in collaboration with the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research and its clinical networks. The NIDA and NIDCR are National Institutes of Health research agencies.

ADA-supported legislation pending in Congress would expand public education about the effects of methamphetamine use on oral health and promote continuing education activities for dentists. A recently introduced bill in the House of Representatives, the "Universal Access to Methamphetamine Treatment Act of 2010," would authorize funds for medical, dental and other services for "methamphetamine-affected individuals."

For your compelte dental care needs, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright at Pueblo West Dental Care.


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