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Dentists Want To See Studies On Pot-Cavity Link

DENVER (CBS4) - Pot smoking -- and its stereotypical associations like munching on carbohydrates and other treats -- seems like it'd be your teeth's worst enemy.

And now some Colorado dentists are saying more research needs to be done on how smoking pot can affect dental health, including causing an increase in cavities.

"We've been finding more cavities in our patients who are smoking more than a few times a week," dental hygienist Julie Baukus at LoDo Dental says.

The journal of the American Dental Association finds smoking marijuana can lead to abnormal growths and lesions inside the mouth. Some Colorado dentists are asking for studies on cavities.

Patients are experiencing tooth decay, expensive dentist bills and the pain of dealing with it all. The biggest side effect is dry mouth.

Plus, pot smokers may reach for the sugary foods or carbohydrates, which lower the pH level in the mouth. That is an ideal environment for cavities.

"It seems to be the greater joke, that smoking or eating marijuana (makes) you crave unhealthier foods," Baukus said.

She says a drink of water or flossing could help.

"When the mouth is completely dried out and then people are eating food on top that, it sticks in small areas between the teeth, so we're definitely seeing more cavities between the teeth than just on the flat front surface or the flat back surface," Baukus said.

In addition to recommending healthier foods for healthier mouths, dentists advise patients to use mouth spray or gum, which promote saliva on teeth.

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