Could Smoking Weed Make Your Teeth Fall Out?
Toke up on the regular and your mouth may pay the price
With all the health controversies linked to marijuana, there’s one body part you may have thought would be in the clear: your mouth. But that might not be the case. Frequent, recreational use of marijuana may increase your risk of gum disease, new research out of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine suggests.
In the study, researchers asked nearly 2,000 people about their pot habits, and then performed a dental examination on them. They discovered that those who used any kind of marijuana once or more in the last month were significantly more likely to have markers of periodontal disease than those who used it less often or not at all. In fact, when looking only at those who never used tobacco products, they found those frequent marijuana users were twice as likely to show severe periodontitis than those who used pot less often or not at all. (Narrowing the analysis to non-tobacco users was important, since tobacco is strongly linked to poor dental health on its own.)
The researchers gauged signs of periodontitis by measuring the space between teeth and their gum tissue. Healthy teeth fit in snugly, but deeper pockets are suggestive of periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages tissue and bone that support the teeth. Periodontitis can lead to serious dental issues like swollen or puffy gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, space between teeth, bad breath, painful chewing, and loose teeth—which can eventually cause them to fall out.
This current study didn’t delve into how cannabis use—which included smoking and mixing in food—might hurt your gums. But a previous study published in JAMA on marijuana smoking and gum disease in young adults proposes that the non-cannabinoid parts of pot affect your mouth in a similar way that tobacco does.
Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and seeing your dentist regularly can help keep your mouth healthy. If you’ve already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you may benefit from more regular cleanings with their dentist—every three months rather than every six months, suggests says Sally J. Cram, D.D.S, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA).
Originally published on menshealth.com