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Methamphetamine use and oral health-related quality of life



Methamphetamine (MA) is associated with adverse health effects, including the rampant tooth decay condition called “Meth Mouth.” However, the impact of MA use on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) is unknown. This study assessed the relationship between MA use and self-reported OHRQOL.


This cross-sectional study uses information from 545 MA-using participants recruited from Los Angeles County, California. Dental examinations were performed by three calibrated dentists using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) protocols. Data on socio-demographic, behavioral, and drug-use history were recorded using questionnaires. Participants were categorized as ‘light’ or ‘moderate/heavy’ users based on reported frequency of MA use in the past 30 days. Route of MA administration was categorized as ‘smoking’ or ‘other.’ Self-reported OHRQOL was based on the Oral Health Impact Profile scale.


Majority of the participants were male (80.9%). Median age was 45.0 years (IQR-13.0). Median number of days of MA use was 10.0 (IQR-12.0). Smoking was the preferred route of MA use (70.2%). Root caries in ≥ 3 teeth were reported in 78% of MA users. More than half of the participants reported having painful aching in mouth, avoidance of particular food items, feeling embarrassed, and discomfort while eating in the last 12 months. In unadjusted logistic models, moderate/heavy MA users were more likely to report an affected sense of taste [OR = 1.58, 95% CI (1.10–2.27)] and avoidance of particular foods [OR = 1.45, 95% CI (1.02–2.01)] than light users. Among individuals preferring other MA administration routes, moderate/heavy MA users were 3.09 times as likely to report an affected sense of taste than light users [OR = 3.09, 95% CI (1.52−6.27)].


Oral health and OHRQOL appear to be worse among Methamphetamine users than in the US general population.

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Parent study Grant Number: R01 DA025680. Granting agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (Recipient: Dr. Vivek Shetty).

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Correspondence to Bruce A. Dye.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Mukherjee, A., Dye, B.A., Clague, J. et al. Methamphetamine use and oral health-related quality of life. Qual Life Res 27, 3179–3190 (2018).

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  • Methamphetamine
  • Oral health
  • Quality of life
  • Illicit substance use
  • Dental public health
  • Oral epidemiology