Don't Let a Missing Tooth Hold You Back in Life

What Marijuana Can Do to Your Teeth

by Wyatt Morgan

You might be well aware that smoking cigarettes can be a problem for your dental health. But maybe you figure that it's someone else's problem since you smoke marijuana instead of cigarettes. After all, it's a completely different plant. It's really not that simple, and smoking marijuana can pose a risk to your teeth and gums. The important thing to do is to offset that risk as much as possible.

Heat and Smoke

Inhaling any kind of smokable substance isn't great for your oral health. This is due to the immense heat of the smoke and other gases that enter your mouth. Cigarette smoke is typically around 752°F (400°C), which can spike at 1652°F (900°C) when you inhale. The extreme heat can irritate your gums, which can lead to inflammation and general discomfort. If you have existing gingivitis and periodontal disease, this will certainly be aggravated by your mouth's regular exposure to smoke. 

Enamel Discoloration

Your teeth may also become discolored when you regularly smoke marijuana. This might not be as severe as someone who smokes cigarettes, but marijuana is often combined with a small amount of tobacco before smoking, so some discoloration of your teeth's surface enamel can be expected with regular consumption.

The Munchies

Marijuana consumption is often followed by the need to snack (AKA the munchies). The reasons for this are complex but put simply—when tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, which is the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) reaches the part of your brain responsible for appetite, your appetite is stimulated. This often leads to the excessive consumption of snack foods high in carbohydrates and refined sugar. The oral bacteria in your mouth reacts to these carbohydrates and sugar by producing acid, which can damage your dental enamel. Taking the sedative effects of marijuana into account, you might find yourself regularly falling asleep without cleaning your teeth, giving that bacteria a greater opportunity to inflict damage.

What You Can Do

So now you've heard about how marijuana can affect your oral health, but what can you do to offset the effects? You can start by contacting local family dentistry services for your regular appointments, as professional cleaning will minimize discoloration, while also helping you to avoid gingivitis. As for the munchies, you need to pay attention to your grocery list. Have a range of tooth-friendly snacks on hand, which will satisfy your THC-induced appetite stimulation without being quite so harmful to your teeth. Additionally, set a daily alarm for each evening to remind you to brush your teeth. Even if you doze off, you'll be awakened and reminded to use your toothbrush.

Clearly, giving up marijuana (or reducing your consumption) is your best bet. But anyone who smokes marijuana must attend their regular dental appointments, while also taking the best possible care of their teeth at home.