Is Smoking Marijuana Bad for Your Teeth?

Casey Ledford5 October 2023

Marijuana, commonly known as weed, has become more prevalent due to its medicinal applications, the emergence of cannabis enterprises, and the enactment of state and local laws. This rising usage prompts the question: Does smoking weed have adverse effects on your dental health? Here, we will answer some of the most common dental questions in relation to marijuana.

Can Smoking Weed Impact Your Gums?

Smoking marijuana can indeed affect the gums within the oral cavity.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other irritants found in marijuana smoke have the potential to harm the gums, leading to issues such as gum swelling, gingivitis, infections, and the development of whitish-grey lesions on the gum tissue. These problems can escalate into more complex oral health issues, including tooth and bone loss, as well as fluctuations in gum tissue volume.

Gum recession can manifest in a couple of ways:

Similar to smoking cigarettes, smoking marijuana can cause dry mouth, resulting in reduced saliva production, which is essential for regulating oral bacteria. This decrease in saliva production can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria that negatively affect teeth and gums.

Furthermore, marijuana use suppresses the body’s immune system, facilitating the growth of bacteria and reducing blood flow to the gums. This increases the risk of infections, which can potentially spread to other parts of the body.

Can Cannabis Use Lead to Teeth Stains?

Similar to smoking tobacco, the consumption of marijuana can also lead to teeth staining, a detail that your dentist is likely to observe. The smoke from marijuana contains carcinogenic substances known to cause tooth discoloration, and consistent inhalation of this smoke can result in the gradual accumulation of stains. Failure to maintain regular oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, can exacerbate the staining issue.

Professional teeth whitening treatments can help mitigate chronic discoloration, and it’s advisable to discuss these options with your dentist.

Does Marijuana Usage Impact Dental Health?

Tooth decay is one of the adverse effects of smoking marijuana on dental health. As the gums become irritated and recede, they create gaps between the gums and teeth, providing a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque accumulation, potentially leading to tooth decay. Additionally, smoking weed can contribute to gum disease and unpleasant breath.

Fortunately, there are alternative methods of marijuana consumption that do not pose the same dental risks as smoking, such as marijuana chewing gum and THC tinctures.

CBD Chewing Gum: This gum provides a convenient and discreet method for daily CBD consumption. It delivers the cannabinoid through the sublingual route, allowing CBD to enter the bloodstream without undergoing metabolism in the liver. Consequently, there’s no loss of the cannabinoid due to liver processing.

THC Tinctures: THC tinctures are products containing concentrated THC extracts, typically composed of cannabis extract and high-proof alcohol, sometimes with a small amount of essential oils. These tinctures are ingested orally, offering an alternative to smoking or vaping. Unlike smoking and vaping, THC tinctures do not lead to tooth staining or lung damage, making them a safer option in that regard.

Can Smoking Weed Give You Cavities and Tooth Decay?

The uptick in tooth decay linked to marijuana smoking inherently correlates with an uptick in cavities, medically termed dental caries. One contributing factor to this connection is the heightened appetite triggered by marijuana use, commonly referred to as “the munchies.”

Individuals under the influence of marijuana often opt for less healthy food and beverage choices to satiate their cravings. A substantial portion of these consumables are processed and consequently high in sugar content. This accelerates the decay process, resulting in a greater prevalence of cavities among marijuana smokers when compared to non-users.

Can Marijuana Usage Alleviate Tooth Pain?

Cannabidiol, often referred to as CBD, is the compound found in hemp and cannabis plants that offers pain-relief properties. Unlike THC, it does not induce a euphoric high, but it is recognized for its effectiveness in treating conditions such as anxiety, specific forms of chronic pain, and seizures.

CBD proves to be a valuable treatment option for tooth pain due to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory attributes. This becomes especially advantageous when immediate dental care is unavailable to address the pain. Additionally, CBD possesses antibacterial properties, which aid in maintaining cleanliness in the affected area and preventing infections.

How CDG Can Help

A Cosmetic Dentistry Grant is for anyone who wishes to enhance their oral health and restore confidence in their smile, but you must first meet eligibility requirements. Apply now with CDG to see if you’re eligible!