Researchers have found that frequent recreational cannabis use -including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil- may be associated with an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. When compared to study participants who used cannabis less regularly, those who had used it at least once a month for a year demonstrated increased indicators of mild, moderate, and severe periodontal disease.
In the report published in the Journal of Periodontology, participants who identified themselves as frequent users of recreational cannabis demonstrated an increase in periodontal pocketing. Pocket depths are critical indicators of periodontal disease, measuring the space between a tooth and surrounding tissue. Healthy attachment of gum tissue, which should fit snuggly around a tooth, measures between 1MM to 3MM in depth. Pocket depth measurements indicative of disease can range from 3MM to 5MM deep (mild periodontal disease) to more than 7MM deep (severe periodontal disease).
Periodontal disease is caused by an inflammatory reaction to a bacterial infection below the gumline, and it can lead to swelling, irritation, receding gums, and tooth loss if left untreated. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends regular flossing, brushing two minutes twice a day, and undergoing yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluations for the prevention of gum disease, which is treatable and often reversible with proper and timely care.