Though recreation marijuana has gotten a bad rap in many places and is only legal in a few states, there are some other states that have legalized it for its seemingly effective medicinal properties. However, while it may help some people with some health issues, it can wreak havoc on your mouth.

It is important that you know the oral risks you take when using medical marijuana. These risks range from having a literal ‘dirty mouth’ due to the negligence of oral care to inflammation and discoloration inside your mouth to getting advanced stages of oral cancer.

Poor Hygiene and Eating Habits

Marijuana calms and relaxes the body. Some people use it to overcome stress and anxiety and put their mind at ease. It can relax a person to the point where they seem to lack motivation. This overly relaxed, ‘no care’ state can cause the person to abandon personal hygiene and oral care. Brushing, flossing and rinsing become too burdensome. The neglect of oral care weakens your mouth’s ability to fight infections and bacteria. A dirty mouth can lead to more infections and sores which may lead to oral cancer.

Besides poor hygiene, those who regularly use marijuana are also more likely to have an unhealthy diet. Marijuana users begin to crave foods and beverages that are high in sugar and carbs. Foods with added sugar, dried fruit, and starchy foods are considered to be cariogenic or causing cavities due to high sugar content. Soda consumption also increases. The hunger for such sugar rich foods is likely the result of the xerostomia (dry mouth) associated with using marijuana. When your diet is low in nutrients, such as vitamin C, it can make your gums and teeth more vulnerable to disease and infections.

Inflammation and Discomfort Inside Your Mouth

Marijuana use can also cause inflammation and other kinds of discomfort in the mouth. Common mouth inflammation issues include uvulitis, or inflammation of the uvula (the fleshy flap in the back of your throat), and gingival hyperplasia, or overgrowth of the gums. Users also experience xerostomia or dry mouth.

A Bad Appearance Both Inside and Out

Marijuana can also negatively affect your great smile and appearance. Tooth staining, tooth decay, and tooth loss are the most visible negative effects on your mouth. Inside your mouth, oral candidiasis (yeast infection of the mouth), leukodema (white or gray mucus), gingival leukoplakia (discoloration of the gums, usually white spots) may appear, making the inside of your mouth look as equally unappealing.

The Big Threats

The biggest threats of marijuana on your mouth include the risks of getting oral cancer, alveolar bone loss, periodontal disease, and/or gingivitis. Oral cancer, if left untreated can be fatal. Gingivitis is swelling and reddening of the gums which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. Periodontal disease causes infections around teeth below the gum line, often requiring tooth extraction.

The use of marijuana has both visible and invisible impacts on your mouth. These effects are all negative but vary in their severity. Marijuana use is highly discouraged to maintain the health of your mouth. There are simply too many risks involved with it. Be sure to discuss the risks with us.

We also offer preventative and restoration services that will help you minimize the devastating effects of marijuana on your mouth.