For cannabis users, regular use can make teeth fall out by their thirties, a new study has found. Smoking marijuana for up to 20 years was found to cause gum disease – the leading cause of tooth loss. The study of more than 1,000 people found using the illegal drug for as long as 20 years was linked with the condition. Known medically as periodontal disease, it is a common condition where gums become sore and swollen. It affects the tissues surrounding the teeth that hold them in place, and can eventually cause them to fall out.
Smoking cannabis regularly for up to 20 years was linked to higher levels of gum disease, which can lead to teeth falling out, researchers from Arizona found.
Gum disease traditionally happens in middle age and is most often caused by a build-up of plaque and poor dental hygiene. However, researchers found cannabis use increased the likelihood of it happening by early middle age.
Dr. Madeline Meier of Arizona State University and colleagues looked at cannabis use data from 1,037 people born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973 and followed them until age 38.
They used self-reported and laboratory tests to look at gum health, as well as lung function, systemic inflammation and metabolic health. More than half of the 1,037 participants were men with 484 having used tobacco daily and 675 cannabis. While cannabis was associated with poorer gums, the researchers found it was not linked to other health complaints.
But the study authors noted its association with accidents and injuries, bronchitis, acute cardiovascular events and possibly, infectious diseases and cancer, from previous studies.
Other research has suggested cannabis users brushed and flossed less and were also more likely to be dependent on alcohol.
Policymakers in America, where the drug is legal in some states, commissioned the study to look into whether recreational cannabis use was associated with physical problems later in life. “This study has a number of implications,” said Dr Meier.
“First, cannabis use for up to 20 years is not associated with a specific set of physical health problems in early midlife. The sole exception is that cannabis use is associated with periodontal disease.
“Second, cannabis use for up to 20 years is not associated with net metabolic benefits (i.e., lower rates of metabolic syndrome).” – Kate Pickles, MailOnline
Gum disease traditionally happens in middle age and is most often caused by a build-up of plaque and poor dental hygiene but is also linked to smoking both cannabis and cigarettes.