First there was cannabis makeup, which seemed odd but interesting. Then the birth of cannabis-infused skin care captured the internet’s attention, and we all nodded along. These days, you can even pop down to your favorite department store and pick up a bottle of cannabis-scented perfume. But now cannabis toothpaste is a thing and people can’t help but wonder — why?
While toothpaste isn’t what you’d usually consider to be a beauty product, it’s earned itself a prominent place in the beauty business by safeguarding your smile. Cosmetic tooth bleaching has grown into a $3.2 billion global industry, and the range of toothpastes designed specifically to keep those pearly whites pearly is dizzying. Now, cannabis toothpastes are now joining the fray, and they’re promising to do everything your favorite regular toothpaste does (and more).
But what are the qualities that make a cannabis toothpaste worth trying? Is this just another passing beauty craze or is there really a method to the madness?
It turns out that there’s some actual hard science to back up the addition of cannabis to regular toothpaste formulas. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant make it an ideal ingredient for tackling one of the most common dental problems we deal with today — gum disease.
When we think about dental health we tend to focus on the whiteness of our teeth, or staving off tooth decay. The health of our gums isn’t something that always comes to mind. But it’s clear that gum health is a public health issue in the United States today — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 65 million people over the age of 30 have signs of gum disease — and it looks like cannabis toothpaste could help.
Inflammation is something we tend to associate with chronic medical conditions like arthritis or Crohn’s disease. But it is actually a fairly common symptom of poor dental health, and it can be quite nasty when left untreated.
Inflammation of the gums is probably the most common symptom of gum disease, a condition which affects around half of American adults according to the CDC. Known in scientific circles as periodontitis, it’s caused by a buildup of plaque and lack of dental hygiene. In its mildest forms it can be barely noticeable, but in moderate to severe cases it can lead to extreme inflammation, pain, and bleeding.
Having an anti-inflammatory ingredient in your toothpaste could be very helpful in combating these symptoms of gum disease. Studies have indicated that topical cannabis products could help reduce inflammation and lower the levels of pain caused by it. Some (substantial) caveats still apply: the research in question wasn’t conducted on humans, and it didn’t specifically investigate inflammation caused by gum disease. Still, it’s a promising start — and one likely to be embraced by marketers of cannabis-infused toothpastes.
Infections in the gums and mouth are another common symptom of gum disease. This condition can cause the gums to recede and when they do — even slightly — little empty pockets of space are created between gums and teeth. These pockets gradually become filled with bits of food and bacteria, which cause infections.
Gum infections can be extremely painful and make eating, drinking, and even speaking very uncomfortable. Usually, strong antibiotics are required in order to kill the infection, but it can take days for the effects to kick in. Even more serious than the extreme pain and discomfort they cause is the fact that they can lead to tooth loss. So, having a toothpaste that is an effective antibacterial is a vital part of a good dental hygiene regimen.
Cannabis has been found to be a powerful, non-toxic antibacterial. In particular, some of its natural compounds (such as cannabidiol, or CBD) are effective at fighting off infection. By using a toothpaste that contains CBD and other antibacterial compounds found in cannabis, you could have a better chance at warding off at least some of the infection-causing bacteria that collect in the pockets between gums and teeth, and keep your mouth healthier as a result.
It’s easy to snicker at the idea of cannabis-infused dental hygiene products — after all, it doesn’t seem like a particularly appetizing flavor to most people. Still, there’s always a way to hide an unpleasant taste, and in the case of cannabis toothpastes, the benefits might actually be worth it. Cannabis is already in your lip balms, your coconut oils, and even your bath bombs … it might as well be in your toothpaste, too.