Recreational Cannabis Increases Risk of Gum Disease

Columbia University dental researchers have found that frequent recreational use of cannabis, including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil, increases the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammatory reaction to a bacterial infection below the gum line. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to receding gums and tooth loss. Jaffer Shariff, a postdoctoral resident at Columbia University School of Dental Medicine, noticed a possible link between frequent recreational cannabis use and gum disease during his residency at a community-based dental clinic.

Dr. Shariff analyzed data from 1,938 U.S. adults who participated in the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Approximately 27 percent of the participants reported using cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months. Among the study participants, frequent recreational cannabis users had more sites with pocket depths indicative of moderate to severe periodontal disease than less frequent users.

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