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Can Smoking Weed Cause Cavities?

Smoking weed makes you more prone to getting cavities because it dries out your mouth and also encourages decay causing lifestyle habits. Therefore, the more often you smoke marijuana, the greater the chance of ending up with tooth decay.


How smoking weed increases chances of cavities:


However, studies have been inconclusive about cannabis and their relationship with dental caries. Nonetheless, the associated effects and behaviours do seem conducive to causing cavities therefore we do recommend abstaining or reducing this activity if you care about being caries-free.


 

Dries out your mouth

Smoking weed causes xerostomia (dry mouth) which can increase the chances of tooth decay. Studies have shown that reduced salivary flow may result in accelerated tooth decay formation.


Decay on premolar with chip
Decay on premolar with chip

Xerostomia increases likelihood of caries:

  • Saliva helps mechanically wash away sugars and acids off of the teeth so they don't adhere to the enamel for an extended period of time causing damage.

  • Saliva has a buffering effect that can bring the pH of the mouth back to above the critical pH level to put a halt on decay formation.

  • Saliva contains calcium and phosphates which can help remineralize and repair damaged enamel.


Therefore, smoking marijuana can reduce these caries protective effects especially if you smoke very frequently. Although, xerostomia isn't unique to cannabis because all forms of smoking can cause it as well.


 

Eating all types of foods with no regard

Smoking marijuana can reduce inhibitions meaning you may eat/drink a lot more sweet or acidic foods without any regards, which are all very bad for your teeth.


The reason this happens is because people get "high" after smoking and they tend to care less about the decisions that they make while in this state. They may prefer to stick to a healthier diet but once they're high, all of that self restraint goes out the window.


circular pitting on enamel from erosion due to acidic food consumption
circular pitting on enamel from erosion due to acidic food consumption

Been craving that slice of chocolate cake? You'll definitely not care about the consequences of eating it while you're under the influence!


Ultimately smoking cannabis encourages poor lifestyle habits that are conducive to ending up with decayed teeth.


 

The munchies induces voracious eating

Everyone who has tried smoking weed before can attest to getting the "munchies" afterwards which makes you want to each everything. What makes it even worse is that you want to even a very large quantity of food.


Normally when not under the influence, you may be satiated with your regular meal but once you've the munchies, you may want to eat double or even triple the amount.


As you guessed, if you're eating a large quantity of sugary, acidic, or spicy foods, the chances of you ending up with tooth decay will be much greater.


 

Passing out without brushing

Last but not least, aside from getting hungry from smoking cannabis, you also get sleepy. What usually ends up happening is that after people get high, they eat a lot and then fall asleep without brushing their teeth.


This can be catastrophic for your tooth enamel if you drank a lot of soda or ate a lot of sweets right before falling asleep!


Of course, people tend to care a lot less while they are under the influence of weed, even if it may be medical marijuana!


 

Takeaway

Smoking marijuana can increase the probability of tooth decay because it causes a lot of lifestyle habits that make you more prone to it. Our dentists in Long Island City recommend that you abstain or reduce its activity if you're scared of getting cavities.


If you think you have decayed teeth you should schedule a dental checkup with our dental office! We'll be able to tell you if the damage has been done or not.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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