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March JADA looks at severity of periodontal disease in meth users

February 22, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Image of March JADA coverUnderstanding the severity and prevalence of periodontal disease in patients who use methamphetamines is crucial for dental professionals who may provide care to them, according to research published in the March issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

For the cover article, "Periodontal Status of Current Methamphetamine Users," researchers reviewed periodontal assessments completed on 546 adults, most of whom were cigarette smokers and medium-to-high methamphetamine users. Researchers found that smokers and methamphetamine users had a high prevalence of periodontal disease.

"The use of methamphetamines is a significant health risk and those who are at risk will also turn up in dental clinics particularly those for the under serviced populations," said Dr. Vladimir Spolsky, corresponding author of the article and an associate professor in School of Dentistry, Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry at the University of California Los Angeles.

"This paper reminds us that a dentist is a health professional and in the treatment of methamphetamine users, the role of the dentist has been largely overlooked. The contribution of dentists to general health can be significant in this population," Dr. Spolsky said.

To read the article, visit

Other features in the March issue of JADA include a perspective on reforms needed in the dental care system to get more dental care to more people; an article about an outbreak of bacterial endocarditis associated with an oral surgery practice in New Jersey; and a look at what evidence exists related to the success of linings under posterior composites.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.