The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study of New Zealand (DMHDS) is “an ongoing, longitudinal study of the health, development and well-being of a general sample of New Zealanders.” Beginning at birth with babies born between 1972 and 1973, the DMHDS has assessed the general health and development of study participants at two-year intervals.
Part of the DMHDS has focused on lifestyle and behavioral choices, and a portion of that has, of course, included marijuana use. A new meta-analysis of this data performed in part by researchers at Arizona State University has found that long-term marijuana use may contribute to the development of periodontal disease.
Considering the frequency of marijuana use among adults aged 18-38, researchers found that participants who had smoked the drug regularly for at least 20 years were more likely to have developed gum disease. The study’s authors were however quick to point out that no other serious health problems were linked to regular marijuana use. Moreover, the authors suggest that previous findings regarding the daily oral hygiene habits of frequent marijuana users may play a much larger role in the development of periodontal disease than use of the drug itself. An overview of the study can be found here.
This study seems to confirm what we have long known – marijuana use notwithstanding, brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, flossing twice daily, and visiting the dentist for cleanings are examinations every six months are the best ways to prevent gum disease. If you are overdue for a professional cleaning, please contact Dr. John Schmid online or by calling our Austin office at 512-329-5967to schedule an appointment today.