CBD comes to your dental office
The therapeutic benefits of CBD for dentistry and oral health
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most important compounds in marijuana.
CBD products are typically derived from hemp plants, which contain only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that causes a high. CBD has numerous valuable applications in medicine, with the potential of its use in various medical fields growing every year thanks to a growing body of research.
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which has receptors throughout the body. It is commonly used to treat anxiety, pain, epilepsy, and many other conditions with little to no side effects.
Doctors aside, many dentists these days are seeing the potential of using CBD in their field. In fact, there are even specific CBD products designed for oral health, like toothpastes, mouthwashes, mouth sprays, and creams.
Dental uses of CBD
There are several ways that CBD can be used in dentistry. These include:
Post-surgical inflammation: Studies show that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, dentists may be able to prescribe CBD to reduce the inflammation that patients experience after oral surgeries, root canals, and other procedures.
Toothache: CBD has powerful pain-relieving properties, making it a safer, natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to toothache. Patients may be able to take CBD products to minimize pain before or after certain procedures. Traditional pain relievers like opiates are addictive and cause side effects in patients, while CBD is free from these unwanted side effects.
Sleep better: Mouth problems caused by problems and procedures involving teeth and gums can make it difficult to fall asleep. Proper rest, however, is essential for healing conditions anywhere in the body. CBD is known as an effective sleep aid, making it easier for patients to get much-needed sleep after a procedure that can leave them uncomfortable for days afterwards.
CBD for oral health
CBD’s wide range of therapeutic benefits can help individuals improve overall oral health, reducing the need to visit the dentist for treatments.
In a 2020 study by Belgian researchers, they found that cannabinoids were more effective at eliminating the amount of bacteria that causes plaque when compared to traditional and mainstream oral products like Colgate and Oral B. They followed up with another study which revealed that cannabinoid-enriched mouthwashes containing both CBD and CBG were just as effective at reducing plaque compared to mouthwashes containing 0.2% chlorhexidine.
These results are significant because chlorhexidine mouthwashes have long been recognized as the most effective at reducing plaque.
However, upon closer inspection, chlorhexidine has some side effects. These include possible discoloration of dental restorations and surfaces, allergic reactions, lightheadedness, mouth sores, gingivitis, tartar, throat and mouth irritation, tongue swelling, taste changes, unpleasant taste, mouth ulcers and more.
Other oral health benefits of CBD include:
Treatment of the temporomandibular joint: TMJ is characterized by tenderness or pain along the jaw in one or both temporomandibular joints. This joint connects the skull to the jaw, which is why it can cause serious discomfort in this part of the head. It can also cause severe pain in and around the ear, difficulty chewing, facial pain, and lockjaw. Common treatments for TMJ include pain relievers, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants.
Without effective treatment, some patients may even experience total jaw displacement and chronic pain. However, studies have shown that CBD can be effective in treating the symptoms of TMJ in patients.
Prevent tooth decay: Too many bacteria in the mouth produce plaque acids, especially after eating sugar or starch. These bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans, cause tooth enamel to erode, causing cavities. As tooth decay grows, other harmful bacteria can more easily penetrate deeper into the mouth and cause infection.
As the study by researchers in Belgium proves, CBD is just as effective at protecting your teeth as traditional dental care products. It can keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria while ensuring the healthy bacteria continue to thrive and protect both your teeth and gums for healthy oral health.
Prevent Gum Disease: Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease. But genetics can also play a role. Regardless of the cause, gum disease can cause irritation and inflammation in the gums, eventually leading to gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis, which affects both the tooth and the bone that holds it in place.
Consuming CBD-infused oral health products can prevent inflammation and reduce the damage caused by gum disease.
Just like other medications, CBD should be used with caution (or avoided altogether) when taking prescription drugs. The same goes for anesthesia, as CBD users may need more anesthesia for it to work, especially if it contains adrenaline. Patients who regularly consume CBD (and THC) should always inform their doctor in advance. You may be asked to refrain from eating for 2 days before the surgery.
More research would certainly be beneficial to support the effectiveness and safe use of CBD in dentistry. It clearly has so much potential already now to help both dentists and patients, particularly in relieving anxiety, inflammation and pain. We expect more dental products to be developed over the next few years to help countless people safely improve oral health with the help of CBD.
Last but not least, CBD should not be viewed as a dental panacea: it is still important to maintain proper oral hygiene, brush your teeth and floss regularly.
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