While our teeth most definitely are of utmost importance, most of us neglect a frequent visit to the dentist. We would brush our teeth regularly, but ignore some critical signs that overtime escalates to some serious dental work. Fact is, for some or other reason, we are afraid of the dentist. We pay the least attention to our dental health.
The mouth is a completely different ball game
There is a complex ecosystem in the mouth of a human. Many different components are necessary to keep a perfect balance in a healthy mouth. Saliva is one of these components and plays a very important role. It starts with breaking down food and keeping the mouth constantly moist. It also washes bacteria out or breaks it down, and clear other substances so that cavities won´t form and gums won´t be affected.
When you smoke marijuana, one of the side-effects is ending up with a dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. Smoking involves high THC content. THC interacts with a natural endocannabinoid, anandamide, and binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the submandibular gland. The receptors signal the gland to reduce saliva production and cause a dry mouth sensation.
What do dentists think about smoking weed?
There are many different ways to consume cannabis, but the most popular way for recreational use is still smoking it. This has a similar effect on your teeth and gums as smoking tobacco would have. It is not really important what you smoke, it is that you smoke. The heat and smoke dry your mouth out. A dry mouth increases the risk of gum disease and cavities. A person who smokes a lot and constantly, might end up with a more serious problem like stomatitis – inflammation of the mouth and lips, or an overgrowth of the gums.
Just like with cigarettes, smoking weed can also have carcinogens present that could affect oral health. Inhaling smoke at high temperatures is irritating to the gums and cause swelling and irritation. Sometimes it can end into bleeding gums.
The danger of increased bacteria levels
People who smoke for an extended time, run the risk of irritating gums separating from their teeth. The separation is not good, as it creates perfect pockets for plaque and bacteria to grow. This ends up leading to gum disease, tooth decay, smelly breath, and other dental problems if not taken care of by a professional dentist.
Your gums just don´t do good with smoking. Smokers often end up with gingivitis- inflammation of the oral mucosa and spots on the gums. You can also end up with stained teeth that overall leaves a bad impression. Worst is when there is a combination of tobacco and weed smoking going on.
Periodontitis, or gum disease, is quite common. It is mostly caused by bacteria that are responsible for plaque. Over time, it leads to tartar build-up that develops into gingivitis that causes inflammation. If not treated, it spreads to the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. If not treated, it could eventually destroy the periodontal bone and ligaments that keep your teeth in place. Teeth are very important for our overall health and if neglected, could cause serious health issues, not just in the mouth, but also in other parts of the body.
How can we reduce the risk?
Health professionals suggest drinking a lot of fluids when you smoke weed. This will at least counter the dry mouth effect. Best is to brush your teeth with a toothpaste rich in fluorite and to rinse your mouth with a microbial mouth rinse to kill bacteria in the mouth. It is also important to floss regularly. Visit the dentist frequently. If possible, consume cannabis by eating small amounts of edibles. Vaping is also a good alternative.
How Can Cannabis Help?
Even though it seems contradictive, cannabis can help against gingivitis. It seems unlikely, but there is a way that cannabis helps to protect oral health. When the plant is not smoked, it renders many health benefits. There are cannabis-infused toothpaste and mouth wash available now. Most of these products are CBD-enriched.
Because of the dilemma with dental health, many studies are focusing on cannabis for dental health. The focus is specifically to see how CBD can contribute to dental health.
Inflammation is one of the big issues in periodontitis. It can lead to losing your teeth. When inflammation is reduced, it will also lead to better dental health. As cannabis has an anti-inflammatory agent, it is very effective in reducing inflammation. The cannabinoid receptors are found all over the body, even in the gums. This is an indication that cannabis effectively could fight periodontitis.
Cannabis has also anti-bacterial properties. The imbalance of the bacteria in the mouth could be restored by using cannabis-infused toothpaste or mouthwashes. When the bacteria in the mouth is balanced, it would prevent tooth decay or more serious problems like periodontitis.