How Does Marijuana Usage Affect Your Dental Health?

As more and more states legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal usage, people who are interested in using these products may wonder how they affect overall health. Some people may find that these products provide helpful benefits, such as reducing nausea, without the increased risk of lung damage compared to cigarette usage. However, one should weigh the pros and cons of using these products and understand how they affect different bodily systems, such as the oral cavity. Take a look at how marijuana usage affects dental health and how you can mitigate possible issues.

What are the Health Concerns Patients Should Be Aware of?

Smoking of any kind can release carcinogens that damage the body, especially your enamel and gum tissue. High temperatures from smoking can irritate gums, and smoking in general reduces oxygen levels in the bloodstream, so it's harder for gum tissue to heal.

One study found that frequent use of cannabis can increase the risk of periodontal disease. In the early stages of gum disease, one might experience sensitivity, swelling, and bleeding. If gum disease isn't treated, then the infection can destroy soft tissue and jawbone; severe gum disease can lead to tooth loss since the structures that support tooth roots are no longer strong.

Marijuana usage can also lead to xerostomia (dry mouth) and tooth stains. Besides these health concerns, patients should be aware of how marijuana usage affects their dental appointments. Some people may want to use marijuana for anxiety, especially if they have a dental phobia. However, the ADA says that patients should refrain from usage before appointments because mixing these drugs with dental anesthetic can be extremely dangerous, and your dentist may not be able to treat you.

How Can You Mitigate the Risks?

First, you should update your health history and let your dentist know that you are using marijuana products. If you are incredibly anxious about your appointment, then your dentist might recommend sedation treatments, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or oral tablets, like Valium. To prevent the risk of gum disease, you should be brushing and flossing regularly. Some dentists might recommend more frequent appointments to remove stains and to measure periodontal pockets. If a patient wants to reduce risk factors even further, he or she may want to consider avoiding smoking and consuming marijuana in a different way, such as an edible, tincture, and/or ointment.

Reach out to a dentist in your area today to learn more.