Do you know the effects of cannabis use on the mouth and the implications for dental visits? The legalization of recreational cannabis use on October 17, 2018, has prompted us to share this information here.
Effect of Cannabis Use on the Mouth:
- Regular cannabis users generally have poorer oral health than non-users with respect to rates of tooth decay, missing and filled teeth, amounts of plaque and gum health.
- Smoking cannabis (commonly known as marijuana) can cause dry mouth, resulting in increased risk of tooth decay, tooth erosion, tooth sensitivity, gum disease, sore or burning mouth and difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking.
- Ingestion of THC (tetrahydrocanabinol - the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) into a person's bloodstream weakens their immune system and leaves gums and teeth prone to infection.
- Cannabis use can lead to fungal infection in the mouth (candidiasis).
- Just like nicotine, cannabis use causes generalized inflammation in the mouth which can break down collagen and bone that supports teeth.
- Dental implants may not be appropriate for regular cannabis smokers where there is an increased risk of them failing due to the effects on new bone development.
- Cannabis smoking (and eating) causes changes in the lining of the mouth which is known as cannabis stomatitis. This chronic inflammation is a risk factor for oral cancer.
- Soft tissues in the mouth such as lips, tongue, gums, cheeks and the roof of the mouth can be affected by cannabis use.
- When smoked, cannabis contains known carcinogens, similar to what's found in tobacco and may increase a person's risk of developing cancer.
- Cannabis-infused edible products such as candies, chocolate and baked goods include added sugars which can increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Snacking or reaching for “munchies” after cannabis use increases the risk of tooth decay, especially if the mouth is dry. *Tip - rinse mouth and drink water after cannabis use
- Cannabis use contributes to bad breath.
- Cannabis use can lead to an altered sense of taste.
- Smoking cannabis can cause demineralization of tooth enamel and leave a sticky, brown stain on the outer surface of teeth that can be more difficult to remove than other tooth stains.
Cannabis and Dental Visits:
Consuming cannabis products before a dental appointment can affect the outcome of a dental procedure.
- Ensure that recreational or medicinal cannabis use is part of your current medical history (just like tobacco and alcohol).
- If you plan to use cannabis to manage dental anxiety, speak to our dentists regarding alternatives.
- Let the dental team know if you have consumed cannabis prior to a dental appointment.
- Be aware that cannabis can impact the effect of medications needed for a dental procedure.
- Know that cannabis use can interact with dental anaesthesia or sedation.
- Be informed that using cannabis affects blood vessels and increases heart rate which can result in increased bleeding and complications or slow healing after a dental procedure.
- For your safety, avoid using cannabis products for at least one week prior to a dental visit.
- If cannabis is used prior to a dental visit, arrange for someone to drive you to and from the dental office.
Our goal at Lorne Park Dental Associates is to keep our patients safe and healthy. We hope you find this cannabis information useful.