Using cannabis after dental work shouldn’t cause any long-term damage – in fact, it may help with pain and inflammation. If this is the case, smoking weed after wisdom teeth removal might have positive benefits. The one downside is that it may also cause cottonmouth. Its’ advisable to be careful with your intake. Furthermore, chronic, heavy cannabis use may have some adverse effects on dental health. Let’s take a look at what we know…
Is Cannabis Use Bad For Dental Health?
There have been a handful of studies over the years that point to a negative association between cannabis use and dental health. Recently, a long-term study followed 1037 individuals over a number of years to compare the long-term health effects of cannabis and tobacco.
It discovered that cannabis had little overall negative impact on health. But, it “was associated with poorer periodontal health at age 38 years and within-individual decline in periodontal health from ages 26 to 38 years”.
So, even after controlling for tobacco use, the study found that periodontal (gum) health could be affected by cannabis use. At least one other study has noted an apparent association between cannabis “abuse” and poor dental health:
“Generally, cannabis abusers have poorer oral health than non-users, with higher decayed, missing and filled (DMF) teeth scores, higher plaque scores, and less healthy gingiva. An important side effect of cannabis is xerostomia. Thus, chronic use of cannabis may increase the risk of caries.”
However, there has not been enough research to adequately provide a consensus on the effects of cannabis on dental health. In any case, these are long-term effects that may arise from heavy, regular use. People use cannabis in dozens of different ways. For recreational and medicinal purposes, regularly and occasionally, according to their individual requirements.
The Negative Effects of Cannabis & Dry Mouth on Dental Health
The second study we quoted mentioned: “An important side effect of cannabis is xerostomia. Thus, chronic use of cannabis may increase the risk of caries”. So what does this mean?
“Xerostomia” simply means dry mouth, while “caries” are cavities in the teeth that occur as acids break down the hard enamel and dentin. In normal conditions inside a healthy mouth, the flow of saliva helps to counteract the action of acids on the tooth enamel. Saliva has a neutral or slightly alkaline pH, so it can help to neutralize acids present in the mouth. It also contains antibacterial enzymes that can destroy the bacteria that produce acids.
For anyone who’s gone through the wisdom tooth extraction procedure in the past, it’s a pretty dry recovery. For the first 24 hours, a dentist advises you to keep the cotton ball absorption pads he so helpfully tucked in. So even without smoking weed beforehand, you’ll have cotton mouth. Keeping your mouth moist during the immediate recovery process is hard enough. Trying to smoke weed after wisdom teeth removal might be even harder.
Thus, if your mouth constantly suffers from a reduced flow of saliva due to cannabis use, you may be increasing your risk of dental caries. Furthermore, if you use enough cannabis after dental work to cause cottonmouth, watch out! You could heighten the risk of infection if you have any open cuts in your gums.
Heavy Chronic and Dental Health Decline
If you are experiencing a decline in your dental health and are a heavy, regular smoker, it may be advisable to reduce or cease your cannabis use. But also take a look at what else in your diet might be a contributing factor. Smoking chronic, then digging into the baked goods, could be the root cause of dental decay and not the chronic itself. Your dental health might be on the decline because you only eat edibles, consider switching up your ingestion method – try vaping, or dabs.
If you don’t suspect your dental health is on the decline due to excessive THC consumption, what benefits could you get out of it? Can cannabis help after dental work? Can smoking weed after wisdom teeth removal have pain reducing properties? Some evidence seems to suggest just that.
Cannabis Could Provide Some Benefits After Dental Work
Small quantities of cannabis after dental work could provide some health benefits. Cannabis is well known for providing pain relief, as well as bringing feelings of relaxation and subjective improvements to mental well-being – which may be just the thing one needs after a traumatic session at the dentist!
In particular, if you experience serious post-surgery pain after dental surgery, cannabis could provide significant relief without the need for opioids or other high-strength pharmaceutical painkillers. Yes your dentist may have prescribed you Tylenol 3 or another strong painkiller, but try smoking weed after wisdom teeth removal – it could work equally as well.
Furthermore, cannabis is well-known for possessing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which may provide some benefit after dental work, which often leaves the patient with sore, inflamed gums.
If you are worried about dry mouth post-dental work, it is advisable to use cannabis via a means other than smoking or vaping it. Other methods of ingestion such as eating edibles or canna-capsules, or infusing into a warm drink will provide much more relief and less chance of triggering dry mouth.
Smoking cannabis is well-known for causing dry mouth, and anecdotal reports suggest that vaping can have just as powerful an effect – if not more in some cases. Eating or drinking THC might reduce the chance of dry mouth, or at the very least will delay the onset and severity.
Tips For Safely Using Weed After Dental Work
Don’t use too much cannabis, to improve your chances of preventing dry mouth. It will also allow your saliva natural antibacterial properties to do their good work on healing the wound.
- Go for varieties that contain CBD along with THC; a one-to-one ratio is a perfect mixture. When used in combination, CBD and THC have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain killing characteristics. Together, they are stronger than the sum of their parts, also known as the entourage effect. Both THC and CBD are known to have antibacterial properties, and to be useful means of controlling pain.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids (but avoid alcohol and very sugary drinks).
- Avoid consuming cannabis with bleeding gums, and consider avoiding use altogether if you tend to suffer from gum disease.
- Eating or infusing is probably better than smoking or vaping, regarding avoiding dry mouth.
- Don’t smoke tobacco.
Let us know what you think of this advice in the comments section. Have you used cannabis for pain relief after dental surgery, what about smoking weed after wisdom teeth removal? Or have you experienced any adverse effects of long-term cannabis use on gum health? Let us know!