Nearly everyone has a vice or two and each one poses a threat to dental health. Tobacco use, alcohol and eating processed foods are all behaviors linked to dental problems such as cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. For decades pot smokers erroneously defended their favorite for being one of the healthiest vices around, but the truth is the behavior can also contribute to dental problems and irreparable harm.
Marijuana comes from a naturally growing plant that is nearly as old as time itself. Archeologists have found proof that cannabis was used to create fiber as long as 10,000 years ago and proof that puffing was part of ceremonies for thousands of years. Beginning in the early 20th century many countries criminalized the herb and the battle against that classification is fought on a daily basis.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that marijuana is the nations' most widely used illegal drug. Despite the laws on use, the fact is that marijuana is considered to be one of the safest drugs available. A study out of Britain has shown that alcohol, not marijuana, is considered to be the most dangerous drug on the market and is deadlier than heroin or crack cocaine. Despite it being fairly safe, individuals who get too much of the sweet herb are putting their dental health at risk.
Smoking Pot and Dental Health
Studies have shown that alcohol is nearly four times worse than pot in regards to causing bodily harm. Although weed does have a lower risk factor to health, habitual users are a greater risk of compromising their dental health.
New Zealand research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the effects of marijuana smoking by analyzing the general health of over 900 adults who had ingested marijuana at least 40 times since turning 18 years of age. The findings showed that habitual pot-smokers have a greater risk of developing "periodontal disease by age 32," even for non-smokers (WebMD.com). The connection was true even for group participants who opted against tobacco use
Scientists from Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study analyzed the dental health of over 903 male and female participants born between 1972 and 1973 and ranked them according to pot use as defined by non-pot smoker, some use, or regular use. Aside from those answers, scientists delivered dental exams focusing on measuring gum tissue. Their work found that that habitual pot smokers had a three time greater chance of developing periodontal attachment loss and gum disease than their non-smoking counterparts.
As the dental industry based more of their findings on scientific research not ancient superstition, the relationship between smoking tobacco and oral health has been exposed. This recent study was the first directly focusing on smoking weed and the impact on gum disease. The hypothesis of the weed/gum connection may be related to the body's natural response to inflammation potentially triggered by pot smoke.