We all know that smoking is not great for our health. Tobacco use remains one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States. Although there is no empirical evidence linking marijuana use to increased mortality, it still causes health problems. Most of these health issues come from smoking marijuana, not secondhand exposure or consuming it. The main health concerns from smoking both tobacco and marijuana include increased risk of cancer, lung damage, and oral health diseases.
Oral health issues that arise in smokers include oral cancer, periodontitis (gum disease), and cavities. Investigators have found a strong association between regular marijuana use with the increased prevalence of gum and bone loss around the teeth. Also, smoking can cause chronic inflammation in the mouth and delay wound healing. In fact, it has been suggested that the frequent use of marijuana may triple the risk of severe gum disease.
Smoking often causes teeth staining and dry mouth, which is associated with an increased risk of cavities and bad breath. Studies have also documented an increased prevalence and severity of cavities among adolescents that use tobacco or marijuana. The lifestyle of cannabis users may also contribute to this increased rate of cavities: an increased intake of sugary substances associated with frequent snacking, a reduced frequency of oral hygiene, and infrequent dental visits. Furthermore, the consequences of smoking are increased when tobacco and marijuana are used in conjunction.
If you or someone you know is interested in quitting smoking there are many resources to support you. You can visit the following websites: www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana, www.ncadd.org/index.php/learn-about-drugs/marijuana, or www.cancer.gov.Amanda Delwiche, DDS