13/10/2022

Is marijuana bad for our teeth?

Marijuana is very unique and has a huge potential in the world of medicine. But what about smoking cannabis and its effect for teeth?

Marijuana is becoming more and more popular. It is being talked about in healthcare, industry, culture, etc… As legalization gradually permeates the world, people are starting to ask if smoking cannabis has any bad effects on our gums and teeth. This was a low blow for dental professionals because, unlike tobacco products, not much research has been done on the subject.

A few years ago, a study surfaced showing that it’s not just dry mouth caused by THC that’s a threat to our mouths, but that more serious problems can arise. So what to do about it?

A well-known fact

So is cannabis harmful to human teeth? In short, yes it is. But so is smoking practically anything. Many doctors and experts are of the opinion that consumption should be done orally or with a vaporizer.

However, vaporising is not entirely risk-free (as long as we are talking about oil, not dry flowers). Some oils may contain glycol and glycerin and are thus cariogenic (promoting tooth decay).

Side effects of smoking marijuana in oral hygiene

According to the overall survey, cannabis smokers are reported to have worse oral hygiene than non-smokers, generally speaking. There are, of course, exceptions. In any case, cannabis smokers are at greater risk of dental caries, periodontal disease, oral infections and not-so-healthy gums.

rhasta man smiling

In just an Australian dental journal, it even came to light that marijuana smokers have so-called “cannabis stomatitis”. Basically, it is a disruption of the cellular structure in the tissue. This can lead to oral cancer. However, this is an unverified claim, according to this journal, there is a lack of knowledge about the effects of cannabis on human gums.

A 2017 US study looked at the data of all 1,938 patients at one dental practice and asked them whether or not they had experience of smoking marijuana and cigarettes, consuming alcohol and how old they were. Regular users of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol were found to be at much higher risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.

This research model continues to be adjusted for frequency of use of these substances to make the data as accurate as possible.

So how serious is the threat of marijuana smoking to our theeths?

Previous statements have agreed that marijuana smoking is associated with poor hygiene and cavity formation.

coloured man smiling with bad gold teeth

However, not all hold this view. A 2009 Chilean study claimed that people who admitted to consuming cannabis did not experience any deterioration in their oral hygiene.

Similar conclusions were drawn in 2011, when doctors tested drugs linked to toothache. Only opioids were associated with a greater risk of tooth decay, and that was over the course of a year.

As is usually the case, not much can be said with certainty. However, the documented data argue not to take this lightly. If you want to enjoy all the benefits of cannabis use while maintaining healthy teeth, we have a short list of tips for you.

  • Brushing twice a day and at least occasional interdental cleaning should be a matter of course.
  • Avoid adding tobacco to your joint or avoid tobacco in general if you can.
  • Combine or substitute other ways of consuming marijuana
  • Don’t use mouthwashes that dry out the mucous membranes
  • Visit your dentist regularly, even if nothing is wrong

Published by Jan Veselý

13/10/2022
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