Oral health concerns with marijuana use
Among the reaction to Wednesday's legalization of pot, has been some concern from the dental industry. The Ontario Dental Association is reminding people of one of the downsides of marijuana use, and the potential impact on people's oral health.
Dr. Deborah Saunders is the director of the medical oncology program at the Northeast Cancer Centre and is a member of the Ontario Dental Association.
She wants people to be aware of the side effects of any kind of marijuana use.
“Smoking marijuana has the same health consequences as smoking tobacco, smoking tea leaves. Anything combustible puts patients at higher risks for certain types of cancer, one of those being oral cancer, secondarily throat cancers and lung cancer.” said Dr. Saunders.
The Ontario Dental Association says dry mouth is a serious side effect of smoking marijuana and it can lead to aggressive gum disease and other oral health issues.
“A dry mouth will put patients at higher risks for dental decay, because things like sticky toffee-like foods can't wash away as easily in a mouth that isn't bathed with lots of saliva.” said Dr. Saunders.
Jim Dobratz is a Sudbury resident that agrees with legalization, but says people need to know the health risks.
“Maybe they should do the same thing they do with cigarettes, put it on the package or whatever, let everybody know about it.” said Dobratz.
He thinks the government has a responsibility to inform the public.
“Oh yeah, they do for sure because they are the ones who made it legal, right?” said Dobratz.
The Ontario Dental Association has some advice people consuming cannabis.
“One of the recommendations with the legalization of marijuana is, you know health wise, it is probably safer to ingest it other ways than smoking it.” said Dr. Saunders.
Dr. Sanders says it's important for patients to be honest with their dentist about marijuana use and to monitor any changes in their oral health.