June 10, 2005

If a meth client's tooth falls out and the New York Times doesn't hear it, does it make a sound?

I have been looking at what I thought was "meth mouth" for at least seven years now. My old colleague WA probably still remembers looking at the tooth that one of his meth clients deftly extracted broke off in mid-interview and placed on his desk, and that was in 1999. Imagine then how validating it was to learn that all this time we weren't imagining things. As of June 11, 2005, "meth mouth" officially exists; it's been recognized by the NY Times:

...(M)ethamphetamine seems to be taking a unique, and horrific, toll inside its users' mouths.... a perfectly healthy set of teeth can turn a grayish-brown, twist and begin to fall out...

The condition, known to some as meth mouth, has been studied little in dentistry's academic circles and is unknown to many dentists... But other dentists, especially those in the open, empty swaths of land where methamphetamine is being manufactured in homemade laboratories, say they are seeing a growing number of such cases.

Wait, Times readers, it gets even worse:

Mountain Dew... has become the preferred drink of methamphetamine users.

Huzzah! Those of us who've lived and practiced in those "open, empty swaths of land" can only say, "Thank you for noticing, New York Times, now we know the problem is real!"

From the molars

to the cuspids

to incisors

flecked with foam...

God bless dentistry in America (my home sweet home).


- Toothless in Zion: Some Utahns are really pretty, 'til they open their mouths - a good article with icky meth teeth pictures from the Desperate News.

- Thank you for the work you do, psychoBOB. Don't give up the fight.

- Seems that the student newpaper at the University of Idaho scooped the New York Times on meth teeth over two years ago.