Marijuana and Oral Health: Remedies if you choose to smoke weed

Marijuana and Oral Health: Remedies if you choose to Smoke Weed

It’s no secret that medical marijuana is one of the most popular substances, especially among young people. If you live in Arizona, it doesn’t take much to get a medical prescription for the use of Medical Marijuana. It is well known that smoking is not just bad for your lungs but it can cause bad breath, discolored teeth, gum disease and oral cancer. As more states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreation, some people have Googled what effect smoking marijuana has on teeth and what they can do at home to remedy the problems caused by marijuana.

As study found “persistent cannabis use from ages 18 to 38 years was not associated with physical health problems at age 38 years with one exception: persistent cannabis use was statistically significantly associated with poor periodontal health.” In other words, gum disease (periodontitis) may occur at an earlier age in marijuana users than the general population.

A study found that at least half of those who smoked regularly for the past 15 to 20 years developed gum disease while only one out of seven of those who had never smoked medical marijuana developed periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is best described as inflammation of the gums, the main reason for tooth loss.

If it ends in “rhea” it is generally something that you want to avoid!

Poor periodontal health is known as Periodontal disease. Your grandparents used to call it pyorrhea. It is pronounced “py·or·rhe·a” or “pīəˈrēə” and anything that ends in “rhea” or “rēə” is generally not a good thing… diarrhea, dysmenorrhea and gonorrhea come to mind.

The ADA (American Dental Association)  indicates that the research does not clearly know if marijuana is the problem with increased periodontal health problems or if other factors like tobacco use, poor oral hygiene habits increased alcohol use are to blame for poor periodontal health among marijuana users.

What can you do if you choose to smoke marijuana?

It doesn’t matter if you’re smoking tea leaves, tobacco or marijuana. Smoke dries out your mouth. Dry Mouth also known as xerostomia. Xerostomia is often described as having cotton-mouth can lead to higher amounts of tooth decay. While under the influence of marijuana, the nervous system responds by reducing the production of saliva. A reduction in saliva is the reason you may have bad breath and a higher risk of tooth decay.

REMEDY: Despite your cravings, avoid sugary foods and drinks like soft drinks, energy drinks and juices. Try to stay hydrated with water.

Smoking weed may also directly cause the yellowing or light-green stains of teeth among heavy smokers.

REMEDY: Professional teeth whitening use of an electric toothbrush, and porcelain veneers. Teeth whitening procedure help with stains much more than any other method.

Cannabis smoking also has the potential to contribute to the risk of head and neck cancer.

REMEDY: When you smoke, try to reduce the high temperatures because heat causes sores in the mouth. Choose to vaporize or eat medical marijuana instead of smoking it. Try taking it in pill form, baking it into foods, or eating weed lollipops. Common sense says that smoking can be detrimental to your health.

Like smoking, use of medical marijuana is linked to increased gum problems.

REMEDY: Meticulous oral hygiene is the only way to prevent gum disease also known as periodontal disease. Brushing your teeth often especially right before bed time is important in maintaining your oral health. Cleaning between the teeth with floss or brushes that go in between the teeth are also helpful.

Smoking marijuana can suppress the body’s immune system, which explains why pot-smokers are more susceptible than non-smokers to certain cancers and infections.

REMEDY: Maintain a balanced diet and drink the recommended amounts of water every day. Visit our Sedona dentist regularly, and make sure to remain active through daily exercise.


Habitual marijuana users concerned about the effects smoking pot has on their oral health should seek the advice a dentist. Sedona, AZ residents are invited to call Chris Marsh, DDS. He has a dental office in the beautiful red rock dental community of Sedona. Being open with your dentist is essential for your well-being. With honest communication and by making your dentist and dental hygienist aware of habits that affect your dental health, they will be more capable to provide the care you will need. With the legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis in many states, it is important to be transparent and be open to discussing your use of marijuana with your dentist and dental hygienist, much like tobacco and alcohol use.

If you have any doubt about your oral health, contact Sedona Dentist Chris Marsh at 928-282-3246.

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