Cannabis and your oral health

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Marijuana, Pot, Cannabis, Grass, 420, Ganga, Weed, Joint. These are only a few names for this street drug that has become legal in Canada on October 17,2018.

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I never thought that I would be writing a blog about Cannabis so openly but ever since the legalization in Canada I have been more aware of the side effects than ever before.

As you may or may not know cannabis is a psychoactive (mind-altering) drug from the Cannabis plant used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

You can consume it by smoking, vaping or eating edibles. Despite the medicinal benefits it may have, you need to be aware of the oral health effects.

ORAL CANCER. Like cigarettes, cannabis smokers are at higher risk of developing oral cancer from the drug itself and the carcinogens in the smoke. It can lead to oral tissue damage that can become malignant.

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DRY MOUTH. Dry mouth is more than just a dry feeling in your mouth that you may be able to relieve temporally with a glass of water. It has long term effects on your gums leading to certain gum disease and on your teeth increasing risk of cavities.

DENTAL PROCEDURES. When you consume cannabis you increase the risk of bleeding that can cause problems during extractions and delay healing. Also the effect of dental anesthetic may be altered along with other medications you are taking. Please avoid using before any dental procedures to avoid possible complications.

CANNABIS EDIBLES. Although you may think them to be yummy, hidden sugars in your baking goods can be harmful to your teeth.

MUNCHIES. People are often very hungry after consuming cannabis so be sure to rinse with water and brush after you eat your snack.

STAINING. Cannabis smoke stains the teeth. Your yummy edibles cause the lose of tooth enamel and increases cavity risk.

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So before you let Cannabis go to your head… or your mouth, speak to us if you notice any changes in your oral health before it becomes too painful and too costly. We are here to help.

Dr. Sharon Walden, DDS

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