Thursday, August 10, 2017

Healthy Habits: The Forgotten Side Effect In The Marijuana Discussion

With every passing election cycle, more states are beginning to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Eight states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, while nearly half the states in the union have some form of a medical marijuana law on their books.
Whether pro or con to the marijuana argument, dentist and bacteriologist Dr. Harold Katz( says there is one aspect of smoking weed that no one is talking about.
"One of the side effects of marijuana is dry mouth, otherwise known as cotton mouth," says Katz. "I don’t see anyone discussing the negative effects of smoking marijuana, particularly to oral health."
Katz says the effects of dry mouth can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Millions of people suffer from dry mouth, known as xerostomia (zeer-oh-stomia). Dry mouth affects the ability to maintain a sufficient flow of saliva in the mouth, which eliminates food debris in the mouth, kills viruses and discourages the anaerobic bacterial growth that produces chronic bad breath.
There are many different causes of dry mouth, but Katz says three of the most common causes that can be controlled include the following:
  • Smoking tobacco and marijuana. Studies have shown that long-term smoking significantly reduces salivary flow. This reduction is tied to an increase in oral health disorders associated with xerostomia, including dental decay, gingivitis, tooth mobility and halitosis.
  • Medications. Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause dry mouth. Among these are decongestants, allergy medications, diuretics, sedatives, muscle relaxants, antihypertensives and antidepressants. In addition, cancer treatments such as radiation can damage salivary glands, and chemotherapy can cause saliva to thicken, making the mouth feel dry.
  • Drying agents. The most common drying agent in food and beverages is alcohol. In fact, alcohol causes the worst form of dry mouth, because both the flow of saliva and oxygen content in the mouth are substantially reduced. Compounding this problem is that many popular brand-name mouthwashes contain at least 15 to 27 percent alcohol. Using alcohol-based mouthwashes makes the mouth very dry, which exacerbates xerostomia.
"If dry mouth is left untreated, it can take its toll on a person's oral health and cause many side effects," Katz says. "Consequences include oral fungal infections, mouth sores, cavities, gingivitis, receding gums, tooth abscesses and even a loss of teeth."
About Dr. Harold Katz

Dr. Harold Katz received his degree in bacteriology from UCLA and is the founder of The California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible. He has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s Early Show and The View with Barbara Walters and countless other TV shows. Dr. Katz formulated the TheraBreath ( oral care program in 1994 and has continued to update products in order to make use of the most effective and most natural ingredients. TheraBreath offers a combination of oral products that fight dry mouth symptoms: Lozenges and Dry Mouth Oral Rinse (which is the first formula to combine natural salivary enzymes with natural moisturizers and a tropical fruit extract that enhances salivary flow). TheraBreath Dry Mouth Oral Rinse is available at CVS, larger Walgreens stores, Target, Harmon, Meijer and

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