Cannabis: The Dangers of Marijuana to Dental Health

Cannabis and CBD oils are a hot topic in society today. There are many who swear by the benefits, but time-tested research is still in the works. In any case, we thought it might be good to share some information about cannabis and the effects it can have on your dental health.

According to the American Dental Association, the use of cannabis, particularly the inhaled form of marijuana smoking, has been linked to poor oral health quality. One of the side effects that can arise from smoking marijuana is a condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth. Xerostomia is an original hidden cause of gum disease and tooth loss in 30% of adults ( This is because it can change the acidity level in your mouth and lead to an increase in plaque.

While often joked about that marijuana use leads to the munchies, it is in fact an appetite stimulant. Logic would dictate that the more you’re snacking, the more likely you’re consuming less than healthy foods that could cause tooth decay. (Have you ever heard of anyone craving a kale and beet salad after lighting one up?)

If you didn’t think that was enough, there’s another condition called Leukoedema that is more common among cannabis users. This less than fun side effect presents as white lesions of the mucous lining inside of the mouth.

Smoking marijuana is associated with an increase in the size of the gums, something that is commonly seen in patients with gingivitis. Left untreated, this can lead to periodontitis. You’ve probably seen the posters on the wall the last time you were at the dentist’s office, but if you’re unaware, periodontitis happens when small pockets form between your gums and teeth leaving spaces where debris can accumulate and become infected. Did you know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults? Nobody wants that.

There’s even one condition called cannabis stomatitis that can turn into cancerous tumors. So if you do partake, don’t opt-out of that oral cancer screening your hygienist asks you about during your cleaning.

Some people have found pre-dentist-visit anxiety relief in the form of CBD, or cannabinoid oils, but  consult with your dentist or physician before use. Research on the safety and effectiveness of CBD oils is still in its very early stages.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if a dentist suspects you are under the influence, they can refuse or delay dental treatment because of the interactions marijuana can have with other medications administered during a dental procedure.

While this issue continues to be a topic of much political debate, make sure you do your homework and understand the risks when you are making your choices. If you have questions, always be sure to ask a qualified medical or dental professional.

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