(NC) If you consume cannabis, it might be affecting your oral health, so it’s a good idea to discuss this with your dental hygienist. If you feel intimidated sharing any of this information, just remember that they are there to help you manage your oral health based on your oral habits.

The more your dental hygienist knows about you, the more customized your dental hygiene care will be. Here are some questions your dental hygienist might ask about your cannabis use, and why it’s important to answer each one honestly:

  1. Do you use cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes? Since regular cannabis use can lead to cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, gingivitis and/or periodontal disease, your dental hygienist simply wants to help you understand the risks while they regularly monitor your oral health for any unplanned consequences.
  2. If medicinal, what is the condition it’s being used for? Many medical conditions or medications might affect your oral health (mouth, teeth and gums). Therefore, it’s important to share that information with your dental hygienist so that they can provide safe and proper treatment customized uniquely for you.
  3. How do you consume cannabis? Each method of consumption has a different effect on your oral or general health. For example, smoking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. If smoking is one of your preferred methods of consumption, your dental hygienist needs to know and will perform an oral cancer screening and design a homecare program to help prevent other oral side effects.
  4. When was the last time you used cannabis? Some medications such as freezing that dental hygienists use during treatment might cause a possible drug interaction that could lead to a life-threatening medical emergency if you have recently consumed cannabis.
  5. How frequently do you use cannabis? If you are consuming or plan to consume cannabis long-term, it may lead to cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, gingivitis and periodontal disease, and can increase your risk of heart disease. Your dental hygienist will monitor your teeth, gums, mouth and blood pressure as a way to help safeguard against these potential risks.

Learn more about cannabis and your oral health at cdho.org.