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Cannabis Legalization Advances in Nashua: Here’s What That Means for Dental Health

Posted on: March 19th, 2024 | Posted by | Posted in Local, Periodontics

As your trusted dental care provider in Nashua, we’re committed to keeping our community informed about all aspects of dental health, including the impacts of New Hampshire laws. The state house recently approved a bill concerning the recreational legalization of cannabis (or marijuana, as some call it). Whether the bill actually passes the senate and governor’s desk, as dentists we still feel like it’s important for us to talk about the impact the potential increased use of cannabis can have on dental health.

Cannabis and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

While research is ongoing, there are several ways in which cannabis use can impact dental health. By understanding the ways cannabis can impact your teeth you can take steps to counteract the effects or choose to avoid the substance altogether.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Cannabis use lead to dry mouth, a condition where the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. Saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, washing away food particles, and preventing decay. A dry mouth environment can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. This becomes especially problematic when cannabis users get the ‘munchies’ and eat carbohydrate-dense foods that are often associated with cavities without having saliva there to protect.

Gum Disease: Studies have shown that regular cannabis users are more likely to have signs of periodontal disease than non-users. Cannabis smoke can irritate the gums, and the dry mouth effect can exacerbate gum issues. Symptoms include swollen, red, and bleeding gums. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits are vital for prevention and early treatment. If gum disease does develop, periodontal care may be necessary.

Tooth Discoloration: Cannabis smoke can lead to tooth discoloration, similar to tobacco. The tar and chemicals present in the smoke can stain the teeth over time. Professional dental cleanings and teeth whitening treatments can help address discoloration, but the best approach is prevention. Edibles or tinctures could be alternative forms of cannabis that don’t stain the

Oral Cancer: There is ongoing research into the link between cannabis use and oral cancer. While tobacco use is a well-known risk factor for oral cancers, the relationship between cannabis and oral cancer is less clear. However, it’s advisable to be aware of any changes in your oral health and seek professional advice, including oral cancer screening, if you notice any persistent issues.

Our Commitment to Your Health

As part of our commitment to your dental health, we encourage you to discuss any cannabis use with your dentist. This will help us tailor your dental care to your specific needs and ensure that we’re providing the best advice and treatments to maintain your oral health.

We also emphasize the importance of regular dental check-ups. These visits allow us to monitor your oral health closely, provide professional cleanings, and address any concerns early on. Not seeing the dentist regularly, especially if you are consuming cannabis products, could require complex dental care down the line.

The legalization of cannabis in NH may brings new considerations for dental health but our dental office in Nashua is here to support the community through these changes. By understanding the potential impacts of cannabis on oral health and taking proactive steps to manage them, we can work together to keep your smile healthy and bright. If you have any questions or concerns about how cannabis use might affect your dental health, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Together, we can ensure that the legalization of cannabis in our state is navigated safely and healthily.


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