With its recent nationwide legalization, people need to think carefully before using cannabis considering its negative impact on oral health, according to the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). The organization also is encouraging its members to discuss cannabis use and its impact on oral health with their patients.
“Cannabis use has many side effects that can alter the state of our mouths, teeth, and gums,” said CDHA president Tracy Bowser. “We know that cannabis reduces saliva, leading to dry mouth. And those famous munchies increase the time that teeth are exposed to sugars. As a result, cannabis users have a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and oral infections.”
Hygienists also are reminded to inform patients that cannabis use may increase bleeding and slow healing before beginning any dental hygiene treatment. Plus, hygienists should confirm that the patient’s capacity to consent to oral healthcare isn’t impaired.
“Dental hygienists want you to enjoy optimal oral and overall health in 2019 and beyond, which is why they are ready to have the cannabis conversation,” said Bowser.