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American Dental Association Applauds Legislators for Introducing "Meth Mouth" Bill

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2009—Dr. John S. Findley, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), applauded Capitol Hill legislators today for introducing a federal bill aimed at understanding and treating "meth mouth"—a condition where teeth can become blackened, stained, rotting and crumbling from methamphetamine use.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced the bill on Friday. It is co-sponsored by Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

If passed into law, the bill will fund local, school-based initiatives to educate primary and elementary school students about the oral health aspects of meth use. It will also enhance federal research and promote a series of continuing education activities for dentists to learn more about substance use disorders and their relationship to oral health and dental care.

Dr. Findley expressed his strong approval of the bill as little is known about the actual causes of meth mouth. However, it is known that the drug can cause dry mouth, which in turn can increase dental caries (tooth decay). Drug users also have a tendency to grind and clench their teeth. Few studies have been published about its prevalence, causes, or its cost to the public.

"This condition robs the young and old alike of their oral health, thereby jeopardizing their overall health ," said Dr. Findley. "It can lead to a lifetime of wearing dentures. We applaud these senators for helping us to better understand causes of this health condition."

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.