Marijuana Has Negative Effects on Oral Health Despite Legalization

Dentistry Today


Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Canada nationwide, the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) would like to remind users about the effects that usage has on oral health, including: 

  • Oral cancer: Just as cigarettes present a risk, marijuana may lead to oral cancer because of the drug itself and because of the carcinogens in the smoke that can damage tissues in the mouth. 
  • Infections: When the THC in marijuana enters the bloodstream, it affects almost every bodily system and can weaken the immune system, opening users up to gum and tooth infections.
  • Dry mouth: More than just annoying, dry mouth can lead to aggressive gum disease and cavities.
  • Staining: Marijuana smoke stains the enamel and can cause demineralization, making staining even harder to eliminate.
  • Munchies: Users often crave sugary snacks and carbs after smoking marijuana, leading to further tooth decay risks. The ODA recommends rinsing with water after snacking to prevent cavities from developing. Rinsing also will help alleviate dry mouth.
  • Edibles: Understanding dosages is critical when it comes to marijuana-infused edibles such as candy, chocolate, and baked goods, which also may have high sugar content.

“If you’re new to marijuana or have used it for a long time, be sure to talk about it honestly with your dentist,” said ODA president Dr. David Stevenson. “They can monitor your mouth and give you tips on how to prevent cavities and other problems from developing into something more painful and costly to fix.”

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