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August 2022 Social Commentary

What Are Your Key Oral Hygiene Recommendations for Patients Who Use Cannabis?


MariaMaria Dimino, RDH, BS, MA

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Brush, floss, rinse, chew! I generally ask them how they use cannabis— tinctures, gummies or vape. Although, all three cause xerostomia so I recommend dry mouth products in addition to fluoride trays to prevent caries. Also, I consult with them on nutrition because cannabis makes you very hungry, so the frequency of eating and food choices, such as sweets and soda, are more often making them more susceptible to caries and periodontal diseases. So patient education is a must.


chelseaChelsea Allen, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Stay hydrated! Lots of water and sugar-free gum to increase salivary flow. Limit snacking if possible or choose healthy alternatives (fresh vegetables/fruits) when snacking.


AmyAmy Kitting, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Are they ingesting it or smoking it? These are two very different things. I’m not sure eating it would be any different than eating any other food. Smoking it is a totally different matter. I’ve seen some of the grossest stain and black hairy tongue from pot smokers.


AndreaAndrea Faust, RDH, CDA, MSEd

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Cannabis use will cause the same issues with periodontal diseases (for people at risk for the condition). It’s a big no-no for local anesthesia, so patients should not use it as some self-induced anxiolytic. Patients won’t get numb so their dental fears will just get worse! If patients absolutely can’t live without it, I advise to just do it occasionally, like on weekends. The negatives far outweigh the positives.


LisaLisa Strathmann, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Marijuana smokers are seven times more likely to develop periodontal disease. They have to be meticulous with plaque control. I advise edibles if they use for pain control.


BethBeth Sulzbach-Kabous, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Xylitol products, nonalcohol mouthrinses, and keep up with meticulous self-care.


CarlaCarla Purdom, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

No alcohol mouthrinses, treat dry mouth symptoms, and stay away from gummies. I remind patients to not smoke before any appointments that require local anesthesia because it can increase risk for a cardiac event.


SimonSimòn Bud, RDH

Dimensions Brand Ambassador

I always tend to discuss the xerostomia or “cotton mouth” associated with cannabis use and how this effects patients’ caries risk. I also comment on the increased snacking coupled with the dry mouth factor, which can make this caries risk even worse. Drinking water, using fluoride toothpaste/rinse, and being sure to still take care of their teeth before going to bed for the night are some of the tools I educate patients who use cannabis.


LillianLillian Caperilla, RDH

Dimensions Corporate Council Member

I recommend the use of motivational interviewing to discuss the ill effects of cannabis when used in recreational smoking and how it dries out the mouth as well as long-term effects on the lungs and throat.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. August 2022; 20(8)10-11.

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