The link between cigarette smoke and gum disease has long been known. But another smokable substance—marijuana— is now in the dental health spotlight, especially since California, Massachusetts and Nevada just joined a growing list of states legalizing cannabis.
A New Zealand study reported in JAMA Psychiatry links long-term cannabis use to poor periodontal health. A team studied more than 1,000 people born 1972-1973 and discovered that 55% of those individuals who had smoked marijuana regularly for at least 15-20 years had gum disease. The study, as reported in Duke Today, Duke University’s campus research publication, states that “the decline in periodontal health in pot smokers was not explained by tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse or less tooth brushing and flossing.”
According to Terrie E. Moffitt, a Duke professor: “Physicians should certainly explain to their patients that long-term marijuana use can put them at risk for losing some teeth.”