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Does Smoking Weed Affect Your Gums?

closeup of opened mouth while dentist checking the gums

Table of contents

  1. How Smoking Marijuana Affects Your Gums
  2. Cannabis and Overall Oral Health
  3. The Bottom Line
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

Smoking any substance can negatively impact the gums and oral health generally. Irritants in smoke can cause gum tissue damage and lead to swelling, infections, gingivitis, and white-gray lesions on your gums.

The mouth drying effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can also damage your gums, as there is less saliva to fight off bacteria. Gum disease (periodontal disease) and tooth decay and loss are potential side effects of heavy marijuana use, especially if you smoke it.

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How Smoking Marijuana Affects Your Gums

It’s not precisely known how cannabis and cannabinoids affect the gums and to what extent the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in oral health. However, the irritants in marijuana smoke and the mouth-drying effects of THC can negatively impact the gums and increase the chance of gum disease.

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Cannabis and Overall Oral Health

Cannabis use is often associated with poor oral health and an increased risk of periodontal complications (gum inflammation), xerostomia (dry mouth/cottonmouth), and leukoplakia (white patches or spots on the gums), as well as an increased risk of mouth, neck and oral cancers.

However, it is possible to utilize CBD or cannabis oil to help stem inflammation of the gums and reduce pain.

How to Use Marijuana and Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

The best ways to maintain good oral hygiene if you use cannabis is by:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day using an electric toothbrush.
  • Flossing one to two times a day.
  • Reducing your intake of high sugar foodstuffs, especially things like carbonated drinks.
  • Keeping well-hydrated and eating a healthy diet.
  • Regular exercise may also improve oral health.
  • Regular checkups and teeth cleaning by your dental hygienist (usually every three to six months).
  • Utilizing alternative administration routes.

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, smoking cannabis is not ideal for oral health. Marijuana users can somewhat limit the damage by following a simple oral healthcare routine.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can dentists tell if you smoke weed?

Dentists can make an educated guess on whether or not you smoke, usually based on how inflamed your gums are and how stained your teeth are. However, they will not necessarily know you smoke cannabis in particular. It is important to tell your dentist that you use medical cannabis, especially if they are putting you under an anesthetic for an operation.

Does weed make your gums recede?

Yes, cannabis use is associated with earlier gum disease and receding gums. This can be mitigated somewhat by looking after your dental health.

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