These days health is high on everyone’s agenda. We’re told to watch what we eat, to quit smoking and go jogging. We’re told to look after ourselves, to think of the long-term. After all, you only get one body. However, one aspect of health that goes chronically underappreciated is our oral hygiene
Oral hygiene has important implications, not just for our teeth and gums, but throughout the body. Bacteria lurking in the mouth can lead to chest infections and even pneumonia. People who suffer a heart attack or heart disease have been shown to have worse oral hygiene. Periodontitis – an inflammatory condition of the tooth-supporting structures – has been linked to type II diabetes.
And of course, there are effects for teeth themselves. Our body once damaged can heal, our teeth are one of a kind. As such, it pays to look after them. While most of us floss and brush our teeth daily, there is growing evidence that a single compound can have miraculous benefits for our oral hygiene and dental health.
That substance is cannabidiol (CBD). When applied orally, in the form of toothpaste, mouthwash or even a tincture-based solution, it can revolutionize your oral hygiene and dental health. In addition, oral care products that contain CBD are often made from natural and organic ingredients.
What is Cannabidiol?
CBD, as the name suggests, is an active ingredient derived from the cannabis plant. It isn’t psychoactive, nor is it addictive. However, it does have a remarkable array of health benefits. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system, which is vital for regulating internal bodily processes. This cannabis-derived compound has three fundamental properties, ideally suited for treating oral hygiene.
- Antiseptic: CBD stops or slows the growth of microorganisms
- Analgesic: CBD relieves pain and soothes wounds
- Antibacterial: CBD kills or prevents the growth of bacteria
Let’s explore a few conditions and see the specific benefits of CBD in dental health.
CBD & Dental Health
Gum disease occurs when you don’t routinely brush your teeth. It begins with gingivitis – an inflammation of the gums – which causes the gums to become swollen. Food sticks between the teeth and forms an irritable mixture with the oral bacteria. Over time, plaque builds up. The bacteria multiply. Together they slowly wear your gums down, transforming the gingivitis into full-blown periodontitis.
However, CBD works as both an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Firstly, it soothes chronic gum pain. Next, it begins activating the CB2 receptors – a part of the endocannabinoid system – which initiates the anti-inflammatory effects. While the inflammation subsides, the nasty bacteria (particularly staph and strep) causing the problem are killed, preventing further damage.
If, on the other hand, gum disease is left to persist, it can lead to a tooth infection or tooth decay. The plaque which naturally builds up on your teeth is erosive. Gradually, it will strip the enamel from your teeth, leading to the creation of cavities. Inside these cavities – tiny holes – bacteria gain access to the deeper layers of teeth, in particular dentin.
The bacteria grow and multiply, producing an acidic environment that erodes the softer dentin. This can lead to irritation of the nerves and blood vessels which run through the dentin, producing severe pain and sensitivity. At its worst, the pulp in the centre of the tooth will expand from the inflammation. The pressure is one of the primary causes of toothache.That’s where CBD can help. It is highly bactericidal (kills bacteria) towards Streptococcus mutans, a prime culprit in the story of tooth decay. Plus, the anti-inflammatory properties aid the overall pain of tooth decay or even better, prevent the process occurring in the first place.
Furthermore, a review of studies and articles, found that CBD has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. This collection of properties made CBD ideal for preventing oral mucositis, a common side effect from cancer treatments.
Nor do the benefits of CBD stop there.
CBD is useful in treating fungal infections such as thrush. Notable for the white patches on the throat or tongue, thrush is caused by a poor immune system, either due to medications, stress, or smoking. CBD is a useful fungicide, killing the fungus without harming your own cells.
At its most extreme, thrush infections can lead to burning mouth syndrome. Linked to a decrease in CB1 receptors, and an increase in CB2 receptors, the exact cause of the condition remains unknown. However, CBD’s effect on these receptors and analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects seem to confer a beneficial response.
What We Know
In short, CBD, when administered via a natural toothpaste or natural mouthwash, has an incredible set of benefits for dental health. It helps prevent and palliate the effects of gum disease and tooth decay. It cleans the mouth and kills any bacteria lurking between the cracks. When used as part of a regular oral hygiene routine, CBD confers long-term improvements in oral hygiene. The only question left is, when are you going to try it out?