Why Is Illicit Drug Abuse Most Frequently Associated With Poor Oral Health?

1825 Words8 Pages
Why is illicit drug abuse most often associated with poor oral health? Trevor Zlatnik University of Saskatchewan Abstract This paper reviews eight published articles that all look at oral health and some form of drug use. The articles vary in how they describe drug use. The articles may refer to drug use as drug abuse, substance use, drug addiction, or drug-dependency. The articles look at various drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, morphine, heroin, ecstasy, and cannabis. The frequency and amount of drugs used also varies in the articles. Poor oral health among many drug users is found to be multifactorial. Direct drug use and many indirect factors including lifestyle, diet, and behavior are found to correlate with…show more content…
In many of the studies that are looked at the definition of drug use varies in some ways including the type of drug and frequency. There is a large collection of drugs that can be abused but some common classes include opiates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, stimulants, and cannabis. Throughout the literature there is not just one answer to why many drug abusers have poor oral health. There is a combination of many factors including side effects from the drug itself, the behavior of the drug abuser, their lifestyle, and their access to oral health care. Throughout the literature many drugs are found to have a direct negative effects on oral health. Shekarchizadeh, Khami, Mohebbi, Ekhtiari, and Virtanen (2013) reviewed oral health complications associated with various drugs. The opiate class of drugs including morphine and heroin were found to cause salivary hypofunction leading to xerostomia, burning mouth, taste impairment, mucosal infections, and periodontal disease (Shekarchizadeh et al., 2013). Cannabis was found to increase the risk of oral cancer, dry mouth, and periodontitis (Shekarchizadeh et al., 2013). Stimulants such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine were found to cause dental attrition from bruxism, and cocaine was found to reduce saliva pH increasing dental erosion, and methamphetamine was also shown to cause xerostomia (Shekarchizadeh et al., 2013). Hallucinogens including ecstasy and lysergic acid diethylamide also caused oral
Open Document