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Have Your Teeth Gone to Pot? Marijuana Use and Your Oral Health

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Although the consumption of herbal cannabis (which is generally just called marijuana) for legitimate medical purposes (as prescribed by a doctor) is legal in Australia, recreational use is another matter. Recreational use, as in possessing and using a small quantity of marijuana has been decriminalised in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. It remains a criminal offense in other states, although enforcement and the severity of penalties can vary. And yet, it's surprisingly common, with upwards of 10% of the Australian population considered to be regular users. If you use marijuana, you might not be entirely aware of how your body is affected by the drug, yet you would know how these effects make you feel, which is probably the reason you use the drug in the first place. Did you ever consider how marijuana can affect your teeth? If you're a regular user of marijuana, you need to think about the potential implications to your oral health.

Smoking Marijuana

The adverse effects of smoking as it pertains to oral health have been well-documented, and prolonged marijuana usage can have the same results. This is hardly surprising, particularly when marijuana is combined with tobacco, rolled into a joint and then smoked. The increased chances of gum disease are perhaps the most prevalent concern.

Dry Mouth

The sensation of having a dry mouth, commonly associated with marijuana usage, can also be an issue. Your mouth is, in fact, dry, and the reduced level of saliva can also contribute to an increased chance of gum disease, along with some types of oral yeast infections, general sores and ulcers inside your mouth.

Bones and Teeth

It has also been found that heavy, prolonged marijuana usage can affect your bone density, essentially weakening your bones, as well as your teeth, from the inside out. The stability of your teeth is assured by their placement in your jawbone, and if this base has been weakened, then your teeth will likewise be weakened.  

Taking Action

Unsurprisingly, the best course of action to avoid any damage to your teeth caused by marijuana is to avoid marijuana. The calmative and intoxicating effects of the drug can easily lead someone to neglect their oral health (simply by forgetting to brush their teeth before succumbing to sleep), and there is also the craving for snacks (the munchies), with the fact that many of these snacks aren't exactly good for your teeth. As with anyone at greater risk of gum disease and tooth decay, you should consider visiting your dentist with a greater frequency so that any problems can be clearly identified as early as is possible, allowing your dentist to take the necessary action to prevent significant damage.

Sure, marijuana use isn't great news for your teeth, but if you're amongst the 10% of Australians who use the drug, then you need to make sure that your usage isn't going to result in a tragedy for your teeth. Reach out to a dentist to learn more.