Smoking cannabis is many people’s way of letting loose, winding down, and letting go of the stress that’s happened throughout the day – or some even use it to get their day going in the morning. Legalization for recreational use in America began in 2016, with Washington and California – although much of the US had given cannabis the green light for medicinal use since 2012. On October 7, 2018, Canada made cannabis legal.
In Canada, the market worth of cannabis and the various subproducts equates to $2.6 billion. In the US, it’s $61 billion – legalization seems like a no-brainer with those eye-watering figures. There’s one question debated passionately, and that’s whether cannabis affects our health. We want to focus on our all-important pearly whites and what this multi-billion dollar industry is doing for our oral health.
Nobody likes bad breath. If you think about bad breath, you might remember that one teacher leaning over you in the morning with stagnant coffee breath or the first kiss from a new boyfriend who just finished having a smoke – unpleasant, to say the least. Cannabis smoke is no different. According to Thornhill family dentists, breaking the habit of smoking can improve your oral and overall health. But breaking the bad habits isn’t always easy as many will atest.
Xerostomia is a fancy term used to describe a dry mouth, or ‘cottonmouth’, as cannabis users like to call it. And, there are not many ways to stop it. Even arming yourself with drinks at the ready is futile because as soon as you finish your gulp, the xerostomia reappears. The THC component in cannabis sends messages to the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain that ceases the production of saliva.
So long as the THC is whizzing through your system, your mouth is likely to be dry. The result is plaque build-up, a build-up of bacteria, bad breath, and tooth decay – all of which saliva works to prevent.
Potential Tooth Decay
The lack of saliva is not the only reason plaque might build up. Anyone, whether a cannabis user or not, will have heard about the munchies. The munchies have an insatiable appetite for just about anything. A 3-day old pizza in the fridge can look like a Michelin star dish to a stoned person with munchies. Typically, the munchies have their own appetite, and it’s everything we shouldn’t eat. Sweets, chocolate, cake, crips – all of which can lead to tooth decay.
Most people understand that smoking is one of the ways that teeth get discolored but don’t realize that cannabis consumption can do the same. Most people smoke cannabis with tobacco products anyway, so it’s technically double the trouble. Smoking pure cannabis isn’t so bad, but there’s still the same sort of smoke inhalation that discolors the teeth.
Smoking cannabis is now more widely accepted than ever before. What was once a taboo subject is now freely explored in both conversation and dabbling in consumption. However, it is essential to be aware of the detriments to your oral health that comes with long-term consumption.
*Photo by Shelby Ireland