A New Twist on Smoking and Periodontal Disease

Dentistry Today


A study spanning more than 30 years of 903 subjects has indicated that people born between 1972 and 1973 in New Zealand who reported smoking cannibis more than 41 times a year between the ages of 18 and 32 developed severe periodontal disease in one or more sites. 
Even when all controls were removed for tobacco, gender, socioeconomic status, and few trips to the dentist, the study found a “strong association between cannibis use and periodontitis experience.” This group’s risk was more than 3 times higher than the control group. Examinations were performed at age 26 and 32. Self-assessments of their use of cannibis the previous years were obtained at age 18, 21, 26, and 32. The time periods evaluated for this group were up to age 18, 18 to 21, 21 to 26, and 26 to 32. The results indicated that close to 30% of these 32-year-olds had periodontal disease. The disease is not limited to the over-age-35 population as previously thought. More research on the connection between cannibis use and other populations “should be a priority.”

(Source: 2008 News Services, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, February 5, 2008)