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Dental Health Impacted by Pot-Smoking

Science has proven that there are far worse vices than marijuana use. Across the board, alcohol consumption does more physical and psychological damage than smoking weed, with one important caveat: Smoking weed is bad for your teeth.

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. Scientists performed dental exams on participants, focusing on measuring gum tissue. The results showed that habitual pot smokers had a three times greater chance of developing periodontal attachment loss and gum disease than their non-smoking counterparts.

Recently, the relationship between smoking tobacco and oral health has become clear. The above-referenced study was the first such study that specifically focused on the link between smoking weed and gum disease. The results may be explained by the body’s natural response to the inflammation scientists believe is triggered by pot smoke. Marijuana uses directly impacts your dental health.

The Case for Medical Marijuana

Marijuana comes from a naturally-growing plant. Archeologists discovered proof that cannabis was used to create fiber as many as 10,000 years ago. Puffing was actually part of ceremonies for thousands of years. Beginning in the early 20th century many countries made using the herb illegal and the battle against that classification has been raging on since.

Today, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states plus DC. But recreational pot use is only legal in about a dozen states. Advocates of the naturally-growing plant encourage using the herb for medicinal purposes. When ingested weed has been effective in relieving the discomfort associated with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, sleeping disorders, TMJ, anxiety and myriad other conditions.

How to Smoke Pot and Maintain Dental Health

Smoking pot, tobacco use, alcohol and eating processed foods are all behaviors linked to dental problems such as cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. It is always in the best interest of your oral health to practice excellent oral hygiene. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. But as a marijuana user, there is more to consider.

While you run a greater risk of damaging your teeth when your method of consuming pot is smoking it, there are other ways to consume marijuana that don’t involve lighting and smoking it. Dentistry.com advises medical marijuana users who are concerned about their oral health to consider using other methods of consumption such as taking it in pill form, baking it into foods, eating weed lollipops, or using a vaporizer. You can explore their local "farmacies" not only for product selection but also for information on the safest methods for consuming the plant. Habitual marijuana users concerned about the effects smoking pot has on their oral health should seek the advice of their dental care provider. A dentist will be able to diagnosis dental problems and implement the dental treatments needed to correct the issue.