Cannabis Science

Can Dentists Tell if You Smoke Weed?


Your dentist can find out a lot about you and your health by looking at your teeth. For example, your dentist can look at your teeth and tell if you bite your nails, your love for energy drinks and if you have an eating disorder. But can your dentist tell if you’re a stoner? Besides appearing high or having red eyes, your dentist may be able to tell if smoke weed. That’s because smoking weed can actually affect your teeth. 

Photo: Unsplash

Does Smoking Weed Affect Your Teeth?

It can.

Research says that people who abuse cannabis have poorer oral and gum health than non-users. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) the following dental findings may indicate a chronic recreational cannabis user:

  • Dry mouth
  • White patches in the mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Excessive growth of gums 
  • Increased decayed, missing, or filled teeth
  • Inflamed mouth
  • Fungal infection caused by Candida
  • Alveolar bone loss (this can lead to tooth loss)

Why Does Cannabis Affect Oral Health?

The ADA gave a couple of reasons why cannabis may have a negative effect on oral health.

One of the reasons is actually related to having munchies. According to the ADA, “ the main psychotropic agent, THC, is an appetite stimulant, which often leads users to consume cariogenic snack foods”.

Another reason why cannabis affects oral health is because of dry mouth or cottonmouth. Saliva plays a vital role in keeping our teeth and gums healthy. Therefore, having a dry mouth often leads to oral problems.

Finally, the ADA says that weed may cause immunosuppressive effects that could lead to oral cancer. 

Not every study found a negative link between smoking weed and oral health. There was also a  study done in Chile that didn’t find any links between gum disease and cannabis smoking in adolescents. However, these findings may indicate that the effects of smoking cannabis may actually be long-term.

Can Dentists Tell if You Smoke Weed?

Yes. Your dentist can tell if you smoke weed.

According to a TikTok video done by dentists Huzefa Kapadia and Iman Zayed, they can pick up on certain signs of cannabis smoking. Even though we’ve outlined a couple of conditions in the section above, the TikTok video only spoke about a couple of them. 

The first sign is gum inflammation. If your gums are inflamed you may notice swelling and redness. 

The second sign is tooth decay due to dry mouth. According to Kapadia, “We see quite a bit of decay due to dry mouth”. 

The third sign may be oral cancer. However, there isn’t conclusive evidence that marijuana smoke causes oral cancer. According to an article published on Pubmed, “Cannabis smoke acts as a carcinogen and is associated with dysplastic changes and pre-malignant lesions within the oral mucosa.” However, studies haven’t found any link to head and neck cancer. 

How Can I Improve My Oral Health as a Stoner?

Luckily, you don’t have to end up with bad oral health. The ADA suggests:

  • Opting for non cariogenic snacks
  • Regular dental visits
  • Treat your dry mouth
  • Practice great dental hygiene such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily. 

Can You Get High Before the Dentist?

Now that you’ll probably be seeing your dentist more often for preventative care, you may be wondering if you can get high before going to the dentist. For many people going to the dentist is a stressful experience and so it’s no wonder they’ll try to take the edge off. 

However, using weed before your dental appointment is not advised. If you’re having anxiety about the visit, speak to your dentist about sedation methods instead of lighting up a blunt.  

You may be wondering why you shouldn’t get high before going to the dentist. According to the ADA, increased anxiety, paranoia, and hyperactivity may make the experience even more stressful for you. It could also impede the dentist’s ability to carry out this work. 

Weed and Anesthetics 

Naturally, everyone is not affected by cannabis the same way. Therefore even if you don’t experience those effects, you may still want to save your edible until another time. 

If you’re going to the dentist to remove your wisdom teeth, it’s best to avoid weed before and after the surgery. That’s because weed may interfere with the anesthetics being used. You may need more anesthetic than usual which is life-threatening. In addition to that, anesthetics with epinephrine may be dangerous to administer because of the effects of cannabis on the heart. According to the ADA, weed may cause a rapid heartbeat so your dentist may refuse to treat you or ask you to reschedule a non-emergency surgery.

Informed Consent 

Legally, there is an issue with doing permanent procedures such as tooth extraction for an intoxicated patient. The validity of their informed consent becomes questionable. 


Your dentist can tell if you smoke weed. That’s because weed affects your teeth and oral health as a whole. However, there are many preventative measures you can take like regular dental visits and practicing daily dental hygiene. And definitely don’t go to your dental appointments stoned.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].