How Cannabis Negatively Impacts Oral Health

Cannabis, in its many forms, is more popular than ever before.  And while many people consider it to be a harmless alternative to cigarettes and alcohol, its effects on oral healthcare are giving dental practitioners reason for concern.  Read on to learn the latest information.

The Cannabis Boom

 

Public sentiment regarding cannabis, also known as marijuana and a variety of street names, has shifted wildly in recent years.  A few decades ago, it was illegal in all fifty states and widely condemned by nearly every politician.  These days, on the other hand, cannabis is just about everywhere you look.  It can be legally obtained in several forms in many states, and the general population does not seem to view it as a public health threat.  (It is worth noting that Cannabis remains federally banned).

 

While this recent change in philosophy has many benefits, dental practitioners have reason for concern.  It has long been known that cigarette smoke is extremely detrimental to oral health.  And while cannabis doesn’t come with nearly as many health risks as nicotine products, smoking anything at all will have negative effects on oral health.

 

How Cannabis Damages Teeth and Gums

 Smoking leads to high temperatures in the mouth, which can lead to excessive dryness1.  Dryness in the mouth creates an atmosphere in which bacteria can thrive, often leading to serious periodontal diseases.  Individuals under the influence of cannabis are also known to develop cravings for salty, sugary foods, which can contribute to the destruction of enamel around the teeth.

 

Alternatives To Smoking

 Fortunately, many people prefer to ingest cannabis through methods other than smoking.  And due to the explosion in cannabis’s popularity, there are countless alternatives.   Both THC and CBD, the two main active ingredients in cannabis, can be mixed into food, made into a beverage, taken as a pill, or applied topically.  Every one of these options provides the substance’s benefits without presenting any harm to oral health2.

 

Conclusion

 From both a dental and an overall health perspective, individuals should proceed cautiously with cannabis and cannabis products.  When taken safely, they can be very beneficial.  A dental practitioner can help you make decisions that will not interfere with your oral health.

References: 

  1. Cannabis oral health effects. American Dental Association. (n.d.).  from https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/cannabis-oral-health-effects
  2. Get relief with cannabis and spare your lungs with smoke-free options. Premier Neurology & Wellness Center. (2020, July 23).  from https://premierneurologycenter.com/blog/7-ways-to-consume-cannabis-without-smoking/

 

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