The Therapeutic Benefits of CBD for Dentistry and Oral Health
Cannabidiol (CBD) is among 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 which causes a high. CBD has numerous valuable applications in medicine, with the potential of its use in various medical fields growing each year thanks to an increasing body of research.
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which features receptors all over the body. It’s widely used for treating anxiety, pain, epilepsy, and many other illnesses with little to no side effects.
Many dentists these days, aside from doctors, are seeing the potential of using CBD in their field. In fact, there are even specific CBD products developed for oral health, such as toothpastes, mouthwash, mouth sprays, and creams.
Dental Applications of CBD
There are several ways CBD can be used in dentistry. These include:
Post-operative inflammation: Studies show that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, dentists may be able to prescribe CBD to reduce the inflammation experienced by patients following oral surgery, root canals, and other procedures.
Dental pain: CBD has potent pain-relieving properties, making it a safer, natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to dental pain. Patients may be able to take CBD products to minimize pain before or after certain procedures. Conventional painkillers such as opiates are addictive and cause side effects to patients, while CBD is free of these unwanted side effects.
Better sleep: Oral discomfort due to problems and procedures in your teeth and gums can make it difficult to fall asleep. However, proper rest is essential for healing any conditions no matter where in the body. CBD has been known as an effective sleep aid, making it easier for patients to get much-needed sleep following a procedure that may still leave them in discomfort for days after.
CBD For Oral Health
The vast array of CBD’s 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 in eliminating the quantity of bacteria that causes dental plaque, when compared to conventional and established oral products like Colgate and Oral B. They followed it up with another study, which revealed that cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes with both CBD and CBG were just as effective when compared to 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwashes for the reduction of dental plaque.
These findings are significant because chlorhexidine mouthwashes have long been considered as the most effective when it comes to reducing plaque.
However, looking deeper, chlorhexidine does have some side effects. These include possible staining of tooth restorations and surfaces, allergic reactions, light-headedness, mouth sores, gingivitis, tartar, throat and mouth irritation, tongue swelling, change in taste, unpleasant taste, mouth ulcers, and much more.
Other benefits of CBD for oral health include:
Treatment of TMJ: TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder 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 result in serious discomfort in this part of the head. It can also cause severe pain in and around the ear, difficulty chewing, facial pain, and lock jaw. Conventional 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 much bacteria in the mouth produces plaque acids, especially after eating sugar or starches. These bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans, causes enamel erosion and thus, gives you cavities. When cavities grow bigger, it makes it easier for other harmful bacteria to reach deeper in the mouth and cause infections.
As proven by the study by researchers in Belgium, CBD is just as effective as conventional dental care products in protecting your teeth. It can keep your mouth free of the harmful bacteria while ensuring the healthy bacteria still thrive, protecting both your teeth and your gums for healthy oral health.
Prevent gum disease: Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease. However, genetics can also play a role. Regardless of the cause, gum disease can cause irritation and inflammation in the gums and eventually lead to gingivitis. When gingivitis isn’t addressed, it can evolve to a more serious condition called periodontitis, which compromises the tooth as well as 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 with other medications, CBD should be used with caution (or avoided altogether) if you are taking prescription drugs. The same is true for anesthesia, since CBD users may need more anesthesia for it to work, especially if it contains epinephrine. Patients who consume CBD (and THC) regularly should always inform their doctor ahead of time. You may be asked to abstain from consumption 2 days before surgery.
More research would certainly be beneficial for backing up the efficacy and safe use of CBD in dentistry. It already clearly has so much potential helping both dentists and patients especially for alleviating anxiety, inflammation, and pain. We expect to see more dental-specific products developed over the next few years to help countless people improve oral health safely with the help of CBD.
Last but not least, CBD should not be seen as a dental cure-all: it’s still important to maintain proper oral hygiene, brush your teeth, and floss regularly.
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