With nearly a decade of medical marijuana use in California, there are many more people smoking marijuana than in the past. The industry is thriving, and, by all accounts, people experience many benefits. But as with other medicines, marijuana has some potentially serious side effects, including receding gums.
Factors in Marijuana Use That Lead to Receding Gums
There are many potential effects of marijuana that can lead to receding gums. One of the most common effects–that is also common to other medications–is dry mouth, sometimes called cottonmouth by smokers. When you have dry mouth, your body is not producing enough saliva to properly control oral bacteria. The result is that there is more bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums.
In addition, marijuana has many of the same effects as tobacco on your gums. It can suppress your body’s immune response, further promoting the growth of bacteria, and it can reduce blood flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable to damage.
How Serious Are the Effects?
One thing that’s controversial about this effect is how much marijuana use can contribute to receding gums. A study published in 2008 based on cannabis smoking in New Zealand showed potentially very serious effects. The study looked at loss of gum attachment in 903 individuals, divided into no exposure, some exposure, and high exposure groups. They determined that high cannabis use resulted in a tripling of risk of large amounts of gum recession, 5 mm (about ⅕ inch) or more.
However, a new statistical analysis of the data from this study says that the claims were overstated. The new analysis doesn’t dispute that cannabis use results in receding gums, but said it was only a significant factor after age 32, and only resulted in about 23% more gum recession than in people who weren’t smokers.
Repairing Receding Gums
The good news is that even if you suffered receding gums as a result of smoking marijuana, it can be fixed. Nonsurgical receding gums treatment allows our office to restore your gums to their natural, healthy appearance.
The only thing is: you have to take responsibility for keeping them there.