The Effect of Marijuana-Smoking on Dental Caries Experience

Int Dent J. 2024 Feb 13:S0020-6539(24)00033-9. doi: 10.1016/j.identj.2024.01.009. Online ahead of print.


Objective: This cross-sectional study aims to examine the effect of marijuana-smoking on dental caries experience and to explore the potential combined effects of tobacco and marijuana cigarette-smoking.

Methods: We used data from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We examined demographics, tobacco- and marijuana-smoking, dental examination, and dietary intake. Caries was measured as decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT). Data analysis included univariate, bivariate analyses, and linear regression model (LRM) to examine the association between marijuana-smoking and DMFT.

Results: Mean DMFT score was lowest for nonsmokers (8.72) and highest for current marijuana smokers (9.87) (P < .0001); however, LRM results revealed that marijuana-smoking was not associated with caries. Adjusted DMFT was the highest for current tobacco and former marijuana smokers (β estimate = 1.18; 95% CI, -0.27 to 2.62), but the relationship was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: After controlling for potential confounders, there was no significant association between marijuana-smoking and dental caries experience. However, when marijuana and tobacco were smoked concurrently, there was a notable increase in DMFT, although the difference was not statistically significant. Future research should be directed towards exploring the effects of different forms of marijuana consumption, such as edibles and drinkables, on caries development. Health promotion programmes should be aimed at educating the public regarding the combined health impacts of smoking both marijuana and tobacco, considering the potential heightened caries risk.

Keywords: Cannabis; Caries; Cigarettes; Marijuana; Smoking.