Although marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, several states have legalized its recreational use. Many users often wonder how pot affects their oral health, so here are some frequently-asked questions and answers to help you better understand the impact smoking weed has on your teeth.
(PS: Looking for a judgment-free dental office near you? Schedule an appointment with us!)
Can Weed Cause Oral Health Issues?
Certainly. Some common ones are:
Dry Mouth (xerostomia)
Also known as “cottonmouth,” dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of smoking marijuana. When your saliva buildup is inhibited, it can’t wash away bacteria and food debris like it was designed to. This can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Even if it’s not tobacco, smoking any substance can lead to discolored teeth. However, we should note that tooth discoloration from smoking weed is rare – except for in very heavy smokers.
Higher Risk of Oral Cancer
Marijuana has fewer carcinogens than tobacco, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Smoking anything can increase your risk of oral cancer.
It’s important to note that these are only a few of the effects smoking weed has on your oral health. As more research is conducted, it’s likely that other effects will be discovered.
How can I maintain my oral health while smoking weed?
The most important thing you can do, regardless of whether or not you smoke pot, is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. If you have a good oral hygiene regimen, your marijuana use shouldn’t make too much of an impact on your health.
You should also continue to schedule your regular 6-month cleanings and oral exams.
We also recommend chewing sugar-free gum after smoking to stimulate saliva production. This helps reduce the severity of dry mouth and its associated health issues.
Can my dentist tell if I smoke weed?
This is a common question, and the answer is no – not unless you walk into our office smelling like you’ve just come from a Grateful Dead concert!
Since the oral health effects of marijuana are similar to those of tobacco, there’s no way for a dentist to determine that you smoke weed based only on your mouth.
No matter what recreational activities you choose to indulge in, always make sure you’re taking care of your oral health and hygiene in the best ways you can.
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