Frequent Recreational Use of Cannabis Is Associated with Gum Disease
Recreational use of Cannabis is permissible in some states, including California. Anecdotal and observational reports have pointed to Cannabis use being involved with receding gums and gum disease. An analysis of the data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination indicated the following:
Periodontal (Gum) disease, one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States, is a major cause of tooth loss among adults. Although periodontitis has a genetic component, factors such as increased age, gender, chronic conditions such as diabetes, exposure to tobacco, and oral hygiene may also increase the risk or severity of the disease. Researchers examined data from the 2011-2012 cycle of the National Health and Nutritional Examination (NHANES) survey to evaluate whether cannabis use (i.e., marijuana or hashish) may also be a risk factor for periodontitis prevalence and severity. NHANES is designed to be representative of the noninstitutionalized civilian population of the United States aged 30 years or older and includes both a demographic and behavioral questionnaire, as well as a full-mouth periodontal examination conducted at 6 sites per tooth.
This analysis was restricted to the 1,938 adults who received a complete periodontal examination and answered questions on substance use. Those who reported they used marijuana or hashish once or more every month for the last 12 months were categorized as frequent cannabis users, while those who reported using marijuana or hashish less than once per month were categorized as non-frequent cannabis users. Frequent cannabis users had significantly greater clinical attachment loss than non-frequent, and significantly higher mean number of sites with pocket depths of 4 mm or more and attachment loss of 3 mm or more. Confounding factors for age, gender, race/ethnicity, family income, diabetes, alcohol and smoking, and treatment for gum disease within the past year were accounted for in the study. The odds of severe periodontitis were 1.4 higher for frequent cannabis users than those who never or rarely used cannabis.
This analysis demonstrates the effect of cannabis as a potential risk factor for periodontal disease. Check with your dentist about the possible effect of cannabis use on your dental health. (Portions of this article was excerpted from ADA News.)