Category: Author: Infinity Dental Web
Pot, weed, reefer, cannabis, grass, etc. Call it what you like — the drug has been in the news quite a bit recently. After use of marijuana became legalized and regulated in the states of Colorado and Washington in 2012, the question of additional states and political jurisdictions legalizing the drug has become a very hot topic.
As this is a dental blog, our job isn’t to get political here but to link trending topics back to our area of expertise: dentistry. So hypothetically if marijuana were removed from the criminal justice system and there were to be an increase in the number of users, how would this bode for our nation’s dental health? It’s a valid concern for us dentists, as countless studies have already established how smoking tobacco and drinking negatively impacts dental health.
Smoking leads to these dental problems (WebMD):
- Bad Breath
- Tooth staining
- Loss of bone within the jaw
- Increased risk of developing gum disease
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
- And others…
Drinking Alcohol leads to just as many dental problems:
- Creates a more acidic environment in your mouth, which can soften enamel.
- High sugar content in some types of alcohol can damage teeth.
So what are the dental side effects of smoking marijuana? Pot smokers for decades have defended their use of smoking weed as being the ‘healthiest of vices’ around, especially compared with smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol. But the truth is, smoking pot can lead to many dental problems and if used consistently, be led to irreparable harm.
In general, marijuana is considered a pretty healthy drug. A study conducted in Britain found that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than marijuana. Perhaps small amounts of the herb are not that harmful to your health overall, but regular heavy use of marijuana will affect your dental health in the long run.
A study in New Zealand examined the overall health of 900 adults who had used pot at least 40 times since the age of 18. According to an article on 1800dentist.com, “ the findings showed that habitual pot-smokers have a greater risk of developing periodontal disease by age 32, even for non-smokers.”
Another study from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study substantiated these results. This study examined the gum tissue of adults who identified themselves as non-pot smokers, occasional users, or regular users. According to the results, scientists claimed that regular pot smokers had three times greater chance of developing gum disease than non-users. Scientists believe the link between smoking pot and increased risk of gum disease has to do with “the body’s natural response to inflammation potentially triggered by pot smoke.”
Of course, people with certain health afflictions rely on marijuana for medical treatment purposes. 1800Dentist advises pot smokers to use the drug a different way from standard inhalation. Marijuana comes in the form of a pill, a lollipop, a baked good, or even by use of a vaporizer. These methods would greatly reduce the negative dental side effects of lighting the herb on fire and inhaling it.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and current accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants. Check out his website for more information.