The legalisation of non-medical cannabis in Canada was put into effect on the 17th of October, 2018. It is important to understand how the use of cannabis can affect oral health over time, as well as to understand how it can affect dental procedures.
Long-term cannabis use can affect a user's oral health in many ways. Firstly, it can cause chronic dryness (xerostomia) in the mouth. Dry mouth can raise the risk of oral infections such as thrush/yeast. Cannabis use can also cause periodontal disease and a higher rate of dental caries. The main psychotropic agent in cannabis, THC, is an appetite stimulant, which often leads users to consume cariogenic snack foods. Because of this, tooth caries and decay are more prevalent in cannabis users. The use of cannabis can also lead to staining on teeth.
Apart from the effects of cannabis on oral health over the long term, cannabis can also affect dental procedures if used before an appointment. Here are some tips and facts from the BC Dental Association:
1) Stay Safe: Talk to your dentist
If you consume cannabis products before your dental appointment it can affect the outcome of your procedure. Be sure your use of cannabis is part of your current medical history (just like tobacco and alcohol). To ensure your safety, your dentist needs to know if you have taken any cannabis prior to your dental appointment.
2) Cannabis can alter the effectiveness of prescribed medication
Cannabis can impact the effects of medications and anaesthetics needed for your procedure. Do consult your dentist.
3) Increased bleeding
Using cannabis can increase your risk of bleeding and cause complications for healing after your dental procedure.
4) Cannabis effect varies
Various strains of cannabis have different amounts of THC. The amount of THC in your system is determined by the strain, the amount and the way it is consumed. When smoked or inhaled as vapour, the effects tend to peak sooner and dissipate more rapidly. When eaten, the drug effect takes longer to appear, lasts longer and is less predictable.
5) Plan ahead, avoid cannabis before your appointment
Please avoid consuming cannabis products before your procedure. Your dentist may need to re-schedule your appointment for another time to ensure your safety.
For more information, visit the BC Dental Association at: http://www.yourdentalhealth.ca/Pages/prevention/Cannabis.aspx