The 2016 general election may have sent shockwaves across the country with the presidential race, but several states also made major strides when it comes to marijuana reform. California, Massachusetts and Nevada passed ballot initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana while states including Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas have passed medical marijuana legislation.
Of course, plenty of citizens are celebrating the fact that they’ll be able to toke up at will, but how does smoking pot affect your dental health? As we already know, smoking cigarettes can have a major impact on dental health as a major factor in overall hygiene as well as contributing to gingivitis and gum disease. Marijuana proponents have consistently tauted the drug’s “harmlessness” when compared to cigarettes, but we’re taking a closer look to see if weed has any impact on dental health.
How Does Marijuana Use Affect Dental Health?
Researchers are still working to determine the long-term impact of marijuana use on physical health, though it appears that the drug can have a negative impact on periodontal health.
The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study of New Zealand, which was published this past summer, investigated the long-term health effects of marijuana use when it came to lung function, metabolic health, systemic inflammation and later-life periodontal health. The 1,037 research subjects were all born in New Zealand between 1972 and 1973 and were tracked from birth until age 38.
The study found that persistent marijuana use for up to 20 years was associated with greater risk of periodontal disease later in life. The finding comes after other studies that show marijuana users tend to have habits that contribute to periodontal disease — such as brushing their teeth and flossing less than non-users and being more likely to have alcohol dependence.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as periodontal gum disease, is an elevated form of gum disease that attacks the bone around the teeth. It’s the number one cause of tooth loss in America, and something you definitely don’t want to deal with. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease starts early as gingivitis, and you can treat gingivitis pretty easily through consistent brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups. Once advanced to periodontal disease, the ailment can be treated by a dental professional using scaling and root planing. The treatment removes the dental plaque along the gums and bone that causes periodontal disease, and alongside an antibiotic treatment can kill infections along the gums.
If you’re worried that you may have peiodontal disease, consider contacting Infinite Dental Wellness. Our dental professionals are ready to treat the disease, rejuvenating your gums and teeth along the way. Our preventative care options can treat periodontal disease, gingivitis, and even oral cancer — keeping your smile healthy for years!