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Research & Development Adverse effects, Medical research

Grin and Bear It

Cannabis use is increasing among adults, but though evidence connects cannabis use to poor periodontal health, few prospective studies exist in the US to prove it. A recent investigation examined associations between cannabis use and self-reported adverse oral health conditions among almost 19,000 participants as part of a nationwide Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Reported cannabis use was positively and prospectively associated with multiple measures of poor oral health, including a number of conditions (gum bleeding, loose teeth, alveolar bone loss and gum disease) indicative of periodontitis. 

The study’s authors acknowledged that limited information on frequency and modality of cannabis use, but nevertheless came to a strong conclusion. Compared with participants who had never used cannabis, those who consistently reported recent cannabis use over a three-year period had nearly double the odds of subsequently reporting poor or fair overall oral health, gum bleeding and loose teeth, even after statistical adjustment for sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral risk factors, such as tobacco smoking. 

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  1. B Chaffee, J Calif Dent Associ, 49, 493 (2021). PMID: 8415705
About the Author
Phoebe Harkin

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