Cannabis and Oral Health

While approximately 13% of Americans smoke the dried leaves of the cannabis plant as marijuana, the proportion of users has increased dramatically, mostly due to greater social and legal acceptance of it (American Dental Association). In fact, many U. S. states have begun to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, while others have greatly reduced the legal ramifications of using it. In light of this, there are strong concerns relating to the neurological impact of using cannabis, along with its contribution to systemic disease, behavioral/psychotic problems, respiratory illness, hypertension and finally oral health.

It’s unclear whether compounds contained in cannabis contribute more to poor oral health, or if it is the behavioral practices of individuals that choose to smoke it. Perhaps it’s safe to assume that both are to blame. For instance, hydrocarbons found in cannabis provide energy for candida albicans, which is a fungal infection in the mouth known as oral thrush. It’s also believed that the act of smoking itself irritates gum tissues, resulting in enlarged gingiva, inflammation and a particularly dangerous dental condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth.

On the other hand, research suggests that those that smoke marijuana regularly also use other recreational drugs, and are less committed to good oral care and regular dental visits. In this case, it’s the lifestyle choices and social status of the individual smoking cannabis that negatively impacts their oral health. Moreover, regular users may experience heightened levels of anxiety and panic, keeping them from going to the dentist, while others might be unwilling to self-report their usage.

We Provide Comprehensive Dental Care In A Confidential Setting

Whether an individual utilizes cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, Dr. Leia Porcaro and the team at Grateful Dental welcome the opportunity to provide them with the comprehensive dental care that they need and deserve. To schedule a confidential dental examination, call Grateful Dental in Marietta today.

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