The Destructive Effects of khat

A recent letter in the BDJ highlights the effects of recent legislation on the use of khat.

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Sir, having worked as a GDP in an area with a very high population of patients regularly chewing the green-leaved plant khat, I have witnessed first-hand the destructive effects it can have upon oral health. Commonly chewed habitually amongst certain communities for its effects of euphoria and heightened alertness, it is often accompanied by tobacco smoking, and the consumption of high sugar drinks and concomitant use of sugar tablets to counteract the bitter taste. I have noticed that due to this conconction my patients have often presented with severe staining of the dentition as well as multiple carious lesions affectiving several tooth surfaces, quite often rendering teeth unrestorable.
Some literature has also suggested other possible adverse oral health outcomes, such as oral mucosal white changes, gingival recession, gingival bleeding and periodontal pocketing among others. As of June 2014 khat became controlled as a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. I feel that this legislation has and will continue to have a beneficial efffect upon the oral health of patients previously accustomed to chewing khat. In my experience, I have noticed fewer patients presenting  with such problems since the legislation and hope that this trend continues. 

R. Marway, London

Reproduced from the BDJ Volume 221 No. 1 July 8 2016


Khat plant... 
By User:Katpatuka - With kind permission of / Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis vom Botanischen Garten Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Public Domain,