Cannabis and Your Oral Health
The use of cannabis, particularly marijuana smoking, has been associated with poor quality of oral health. The cause of this has been complicated by the number of connected factors with frequent users, including:
- use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
- poor oral hygiene practices
- infrequent visits to dentists
It also leads to dry mouth which can contribute to a number of oral health conditions. Additionally, staining of the teeth may be a side affect turning the teeth yellow, brown, and even green.
Further, the main psychotropic agent, THC, is an appetite stimulant, which often leads users to consume sugary snack foods. Regular cannabis users are known to have significantly higher numbers of cavities than non-users,particularly on normally easy-to-reach smooth surfaces.
Leukoedema (white, patchy areas on the soft tissue in the mouth) is more common among cannabis users than non-users, and the irritant of the inhaled smoke can contribute to this.
Smoking marijuana is associated with gingival enlargement, reddish lesions, and chronic inflammation of the tissues. These issues can develop into malignant abnormal growths. It may increase oral and neck cancer risk for people who smoke both cannabis and cigarettes. The risk and aggressiveness of cancers associated with cannabis appear to be higher in younger users (under age 50).
There is a direct relationship between cannabis use and periodontal disease (gum disease and bone loss). Further, periodontitis may occur at an earlier age in marijuana users than the general population, but some studies show that long-term use results in periodontal disease later in life.
By visiting your Dr. Katherine Bell regularly for routine dental exams, teeth cleanings, and consultations, patients can stay on top of their oral health and avoid some of these common problems. If you are a regular marijuana smoker, consider discussing preventative tips and available treatments with your hygienist or Dr. Bell to help keep your teeth strong and healthy. Please avoid consuming cannabis products before your office visit. We may need to re-schedule your appointment for another time to ensure your safety. Contact Barbara Bell DDS, PA to discuss scheduling an appointment today!