Marijuana use has certainly become more acceptable in society at large, but what about its impact on oral health? According to a recent ADA article, marijuana use can lead to severe oral problems. It is important that people are made aware of these risks.
It has previously been known that there are multiple health problems associated with heavy marijuana use, says the ADA article. These health complications are respiratory problems, bronchial complaints, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, tachycardia, acute panic and paranoia, and impairment in short-term memory and motor skills.
But what about the seemingly less-known oral problems associated with marijuana use? The ADA article lists associations with severe oral problems such as the development of xerostomia (dry mouth) and an often dramatic increased rate of cavities. In addition, irritation, edema (swelling), and erythema (redness) of the oral tissues have been seen. A limited number of studies also found a correlation between marijuana use and the risk of periodontal (gum/bone) disease. Finally, the high intraoral temperature from marijuana smoking can lead to changes in oral tissues and cellular disruption. While this link has not yet been established, these changes could likely lead to oral cancer.
Here at Boulevard Dental Associates, it is very important to us that we inform our patients and others about any risks to their oral health. Because we care, we see it as our duty to share these oral risks that are associated with marijuana use.