A new study has found that frequent recreational use of cannabis like marijuana, hashish, and hash oil, may doubles the risk of gum or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory reaction to a bacterial infection below the gum line. When the disease is left untreated, it can lead to receding gums and tooth loss. Longstanding gum disease has also been associated with a number of non-oral health issues, from preterm labour during pregnancy to heart disease. Lead study author Jaffer Shariff from Columbia University School of Dental Medicine (CDM) noticed a possible link between frequent recreational cannabis use and gum disease. Dr Shariff said,”It is well known that frequent tobacco use can increase the risk of periodontal disease, but it was surprising to see that recreational cannabis users may also be at risk.” The researchers analysed data from 1,938 adults. Approximately 27 percent of the participants reported using cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months.Periodontal exams focus on a patient`s gum tissue and connection to the teeth. Dr. Shariff added,”Even controlling for other factors linked to gum disease, such as cigarette smoking, frequent recreational cannabis smokers are twice as likely as non-frequent users to have signs of periodontal disease.” Among other assessments, periodontists look for plaque, inflammation, bleeding, and gum recession. The clinician uses a probe to measure the space between teeth and their surrounding gum tissue. Healthy gums fit a tooth snugly, with no more than one to three millimeters of space, known as pocket depth, between the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Deeper pockets usually indicate presence of periodontitis.