More evidence cannabis can make your teeth fall out: Smoking weed increases the risk of severe gum disease, study warns
Smoking weed on a regular basis drives up your risk of severe gum disease – and could cause your teeth to fall out, new research suggests.
It is the latest study to draw a link between cannabis and mouth health as researchers race to understand the drug, which is now legal in more than half of the United States.
The study by Columbia University tracked more than 500 recreational cannabis users.
Those who self-reported taking cannabis regularly were more likely to have signs of the oral health disorder than those who said they were only occasional users.
The study authors warn their research should be a warning sign that increasingly relaxed marijuana laws in the US could have serious oral health implications.
Researchers from Columbia University analyzed data from 1,938 adults who participated in the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, administered in collaboration with the American Academy of Periodontology.
Approximately 27 percent of the participants reported using cannabis at least once during the 12 months.
Results, published in the Journal of Periodontology, revealed self-reported frequent recreational cannabis users had significantly greater evidence of moderate-to-severe gum disease than less regular users.
Gum disease was assessed by measuring the space between teeth and their surrounding gum tissue. Healthy gums fit a tooth snugly with no more than 3mm between the tooth and gum. Larger spaces suggest gum disease.
Study author Dr Jaffer Shariff first suspected a link between frequent recreational cannabis use and gum disease will working as a dentist in New York.
He said: ‘It is well known that frequent tobacco use can increase the risk of periodontal disease, but it was surprising to see that recreational cannabis users may also be at risk.
‘The recent spate of new recreational and medical marijuana laws could spell the beginning of a growing oral public health problem.’
‘Even controlling for other factors linked to gum disease, such as cigarette smoking, frequent recreational cannabis smokers are twice as likely as non-frequent users to have signs of periodontal disease.
‘While more research is needed to determine if medical marijuana has a similar impact on oral health, our study findings suggest that dental care providers should ask their patients about cannabis habits.’
Commenting on the study, Ian Hamilton, a cannabis researcher at the University of York, told MailOnline: ‘This confirms the findings of previous studies that suggest people who use cannabis are less likely to brush their teeth or visit a dentist regularly, both factors can contribute to gum disease.
‘In addition a combination of reduced saliva excretion and increased appetite commonly referred to as the “munchies” are also important aspects which are thought to play a part in the increased risk of gum disease for people who smoke cannabis.’
This comes after researchers from the BC Centre on Substance Use in Vancouver found smoking cannabis could help crack cocaine addicts overcome their addiction.