NACOGDOCHES, TX (RNN) Victoria Hutto can finally smile again. This 27-year-old Nacogdoches, woman spent years hiding an overwhelming problem. She had decaying teeth.
"I trained myself when I yawn or cough. When I did anything I immediately cover my mouth," said Hutto. "They were like chalk. I could take a bit of a potato chip and part of my tooth would come off with it."
Hutto is part of a growing trend. More and more young adults have started wearing dentures. For Hutto, it was her only option.
"When they pulled them all they showed them to me and they were horrible."
Hutto blamed poor dental hygiene, too many soda's and too many sweets for her rotting teeth. Those have been the main contributing factors for young adults getting dentures. But a startling number of cases can be blamed on drugs, and mostly meth use.
It's called meth mouth. Dr. Kyle Ferro said meth mouth was caused when people using meth see a decrease in saliva.
"Saliva acts as a buffer against acidic substances. That's a major factor."
According to the Caddo/Shreveport, Louisiana Narcotics Unit, meth use in the Ark-La-Tex as an increasing problem. Thousand's of arrests have been made and it's said that once a person uses meth they are hooked.
Dr. Nicholas Goeders spent the past 20 years studying drug addiction at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. He's working on a drug that curbs a person's addiction to meth.
"We tested this compound in cocaine users and we've seen a positive signal," said Goeders, "We saw that a significant number of these people reported less cravings and less cocaine in their urine."
The product is expected to be offered to the market within the next few years.
Professional Denture Clinic has seen an increase in patients needing dentures because of meth.
"These people have ramped decay and we've seen more and more of it over the past five to eight years," said Dr. James Conly, dentist at Professional Denture Clinic.