Cottonmouth and gingivitis: marijuana use and our health

 Cottonmouth and Gingivitis

We all know that marijuana causes severe dry-mouth, also known as cottonmouth. Thanks to the article I wrote previously we also know why cannabis gives you cottonmouth. Now let’s look at a possible connection between cottonmouth and gingivitis (also called gum disease and periodontal disease in its advanced stages). Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth-loss in America.

Dry mouth (cotton mouth) is a major contributing factor that could lead to gingivitis if not treated. Since saliva has protecting abilities, it really is needed to coat the mouth and help prevent infection and control bacteria growth. Saliva helps protect the teeth from premature decay as well as aid in digestion as it helps break down food and makes chewing and swallowing easier on us as well.

rolled marijuana joint - cottonmouth creatorWhen we use marijuana there is a reaction that occurs which inhibits the production of saliva – making our mouths very dry. We typically refer to this feeling as “cottonmouth”. Cottonmouth is not caused by the smoke, but is actually caused by a reaction within our body (this is explained in the linked-article above).

Many medications cause cottonmouth – marijuana is just one of them. If you use marijuana regularly and also use other prescriptions that cause cottonmouth, then you raise the risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease. Check all your medications for their potential side-effects, many of them cause dry-mouth.

Some signs of Gum Disease

You may be starting to form gum disease if you notice any of the following conditions:

  • Bleeding gums (most commonly after/during brushing teeth)
  • Swollen, puffy, tender and, or red gums
  • Bad breath or Bad taste in mouth (recurring)
  • Receding gum line (and you thought you just had to watch for receding hair)
  • Pockets forming between the teeth and gums
  • Loos feeling teeth or teeth that can be “wiggled” in place

If you notice any of the above signs, please visit you local dentist and have your teeth checked.

Prevention of Gingivitis from Cottonmouth

According to a WebMD article i read recently; “the American Academy of Periodontology says that up to 30% of Americans may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. And those who are genetically predisposed may be up to six times more likely to develop some form of gum disease.” via:  Gum Disease Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Obviously, this means if there are factors we can control to keep gum disease from setting in – we should.

The best way to prevent gingivitis or gum disease – no matter the cause – is to take care of your mouth. Regular brushing (at least twice a day), flossing, and dental cleanings will go a long way to help you keep gum disease at bay. Quitting tobacco is also a huge step to take as tobacco smokers are “7 times more likely to develop gingivitis” than non-smokers.

Proper nutrition is also a great way to combat gum disease. When you eat foods that are good for your immune system – you will be better able to fight off infections. Foods high in antioxidants are especially helpful for fighting off gingivitis.

Don’t get cottonmouth

The best way to prevent gingivitis caused by cottonmouth, is to not get cottonmouth in the first place. There are a few ways to accomplish this goal. First, you can stop using marijuana. Since I already know that is not a feasible request, I will move on to say; you should choose a strain/variety of marijuana that doesn’t cause you to get bad cottonmouth. Many varieties of cannabis cause different reactions in people. Find the right one for you through strain selection.

Next, if you know you will be partaking in the marijuana smoking experience (I can tell I will be using marijuana by the fact that I woke up), you may take extra precautions.

Precautions for combatting cottonmouth include;

  • Drink lots of water – sipping on water throughout the day is a great way to keep your mouth moist and ready to do it’s job.
  • Avoid radiation – Chemo and other forms of radiation cause cottonmouth. If you are using radiation for any treatment, either seek a more natural remedy, or take extra precautions to keep your mouth lubricated.
  • Sugar free candy/gum – candy and gum both do wonders to help aid in saliva production, and to moisten the mouth. Stick with sugarless gum or candy or else you may be trading gum health for tooth decay later.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco – all these products make cottonmouth worse
  • Avoid lots of sugar in your diet
 As important as our saliva is, it is extremely important to protect it. When we are already using a medication that causes cottonmouth we need to be even more aware of ways to improve the health of our mouth.
 The main thing to take away from this article is, marijuana users are going to get cottonmouth but, that doesn’t mean they have to get gum disease as well. There are preventative measures to take, in order to make sure that you are not creating a bigger problem every time you light up or medicate.
 Finally, with the addition of sugarless gum and candy, proper care of your teeth and gums, and making lots of water a part of your daily diet, you can reduce the chances of being affected by gingivitis due to cottonmouth and marijuana use.
 So, next time you fire up that joint, and reach for the bag of chips, you may want to replace those chips with a healthier choice. Choices like fruits that are high in antioxidants, or candy that has low/no sugar but will stimulate saliva production are the ones you want to go with.
Happy medicating,
Cannabis Chris
© 2016
%d bloggers like this: