Bronco can leave users toothless

Bronco is a powerfully addictive drug that can seriously damage oral health, destroying a person’s smile and natural ability to chew, according to the Zimbabwe Dental Association (ZDA)

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a number of Zimbabweans are addicted to the drug with the majority of users being aged between 12 and 34.

“Bronco users can go from having healthy teeth to extremely sensitive teeth and eventual tooth loss in about a year,” warns the ZDA. This condition is often called dry mouth. Bronco robs people, especially young people, of their teeth and frequently leads to full-mouth extractions and a lifetime of wearing dentures, say medical and dental practitioners.

Bronco users are characterised by rampant tooth decay and teeth described by users as blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart.

Dr Banda of Mbare explained that the extensive tooth decay of meth mouth was attributed to the drug’s dry-mouth effect and its propensity to cause cravings for high-calorie carbonated beverages, tooth grinding and clenching, and extended periods of poor oral hygiene.

“Very few people understand the broad dangers Bronco poses to the public health of our communities,” says Norman Jesinayo, president and CEO of the Munharaunda Edutainment Trust that is running the Say No to Drugs campaign in schools.

“The ZDA’s warning should serve as a wake-up call to those who use this insidious drug as well as to family and friends who are witness to this behaviour among their loved ones. They need to understand they are not powerless to intervene – they can and should get the user to seek the help they need. There is no safe level of Bronco use, but treatment and recovery are possible,” he said.

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