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Many dentists already warn their patients about the risks that smoking tobacco can pose to their dental health.
However, fewer of them may discuss the link that heavy marijuana use has to gum disease, despite a study conducted earlier this year that indicated it may be just as dangerous as tobacco.
Research conducted by a team of researchers based in New Zealand looked at the effects of marijuana smoking on more than 900 adults who had used the drug over 40 times a year since they turned 18.
They found that these participants were more likely than those in the general population to be diagnosed with gum disease - a common but potentially serious dental health problem. This connection was true even for subjects who did not also smoke tobacco.
The scientists said that it is not yet clear how marijuana smoke affects the gum and dental health, but they proposed that the link may have something to do with the inflammatory response of the body and peripheral blood flow in the mouth.
Many dental experts, including the American Dental Association, have warned people to quit smoking to protect their dental health. The ADA has also warned that smoking tobacco may damage new dental implants.
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