To Toke or Not to Toke? : That is the Question

You are in the prime of your life, in your 40s-50s. You have had an especially stressful week at work, and you simply want to relax this weekend like you’ve always done. You unwind with a glass of wine maybe and light up a joint or your bong and take a few tokes to ease the stress. You’ve been recreationally using marijuana since college, and haven’t seen or heard of any serious health issues with its use…..until now perhaps.

image.pngStudies show that long term use of cannabis leads to gum disease. And untreated gum disease is directly linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, pancreatic cancer, angular glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. So even though you’ve been regularly going for your dental cleanings twice a year, that hygiene maintenance schedule may no longer be appropriate for you. And remember once you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, it’s a daily battle you fight to keep it at bay. I always tell my patients that we have a partnership to keep your gums healthy: your oral hygiene homecare routine and showing up for your scheduled hygiene maintenance visit is key to keeping your smile healthy. If you miss an appointment then be aware that the gum disease can come back very quickly, and even be worse than it was originally.

But the question remains:  is this true only when marijuana is smoked? What about if it is inhaled using a vaporizer? What about cannabis that has been ingested via edibles, tinctures, capsules or oils? In my opinion the inhalation of cannabis while smoking it, is the most likely culprit. However I’d be interested in seeing some studies done which include other forms of cannabis ingestion, especially inhalation with vapor. Today vaping is a huge trend, and to study vaping in general, with or without cannabis, would be integral to better understanding the long term effects on the oral cavity, of this highly popular habit. What do you think? Please feel free to share any anecdotal evidence you may have in the comment section below.

And remember, a heatlhy smile is always in style!

Toot-a-Loo,

Dr. Meli

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