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The Whole Tooth: CBD in Dentistry

By Dr. Robert Kelly, D.M.D.

The Whole Tooth: CBD in Dentistry

I’m always up for learning about new research and new treatments outside of the box. I recently read an article in a dental journal by Melissa Busch who explained some new research with Cannabidiol (CBD) by professor Jack Windsor, PhD at Indiana University School of Dentistry.

CBD is the nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis and it was found to inhibit the growth of the periodontitis pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Whew, that was a mouthful: we can refer to it by its nickname P. gingivalis.

P. gingivalis is a gram negative anaerobe which means it lives and thrives in conditions with no oxygen. It can negatively influence our oral health by contributing to tissue destruction in periodontal disease. If our mouth was a superhero, it is the bad guy. It contributes to the destruction of oral tissues through the production of proteases. What this means in our mouths is it contributes to destruction of the foundational support of our teeth.

The research conducted looked at the effects of different concentrations of CBD on the bacteria. They found that even small concentrations of CBD both inhibited bacteria growth and also inhibited the proteases which were responsible for damage to the tissue.

In conclusion, Windsor wrote “CBD has antibacterial effects against P.gingivalis and can inhibit some of the virulence factors related to the ability of host tissue invasion.”

I don’t recommend running out just yet to use this as definitive treatment; it still requires further study. But the fascinating conclusion is that it does appear to show in the lab, microscopically, that CBD has some beneficial effect against the chronic inflammatory condition of periodontal disease.

The CDC estimates that over 50% of the adult population has periodontal disease whether it is stable or active. So once again, they haven’t quite recommended cannabis for treatment yet but I’ll keep you posted!

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