New study highlighting the ability of cannabinoids to fight bacteria in dental plaque opens the door for CBD as an effective oral care product.
In recent years, the craze over CBD – cannabidiol – one of the more popular and well-known cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, has led to a massive uptick in research into its medical properties. Along with this has come a maelstrom of articles suggesting possible uses outside of what has already been studied, with hopes that upcoming scientific research will uncover even more ways that CBD can be useful, including in dental care.
What we already know about CBD
CBD is now often considered a preferred alternative to pharmaceutical medication when it comes to dealing with sleep issues, anxiety, and depression, and is under intense study for its possible efficacy in treating different forms of cancer. It has been linked to research indicating usefulness in dealing with high cholesterol issues, blood pressure stabilization, and even a possible contender in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s pathogenic disease fighting properties have also been studied quite a bit at this point with evidence pointing to it being a strong antimicrobial capable of targeting different kinds of infectious agents. Of course, when it comes to pathogenic diseases, there are about a million different places to look for CBD efficacy.
Pathogenic diseases – what are they?
Pathogenic diseases are infectious diseases that come from pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So, anything from the common cold, to bacterial bronchitis, to ringworm are all pathogenic diseases. These, of course, account for a large percentage of the illnesses out there, and particularly the spreadable ones.
Whenever you hear a story about a new coronavirus – like what’s currently going around now – or swine flu, or the plague; it’s all about pathogenic diseases. There are different ways of fighting pathogenic diseases, and oftentimes in pharmaceutical medicine, what works for one, won’t work for another, particularly when looking at the necessary treatment methods for viruses vs bacteria, or even two very different viruses.
As always, it’s good to remember when dealing with CBD that it is not a pharmaceutical medicine, it is, in fact, a naturopathic medicine relating to plant medicine. Because of this, the chemical structure is significantly more complex than pharmaceutical medications that are based off of plant compounds, but generally in a more simplified way (which is what allows for things like antibiotic resistance as the bacteria are more easily able to replicate the simplified structure).
When dealing with plants, it’s not uncommon for one plant to be useful in many treatments, think of all the applications CBD is already being touted for. And for this reason, there is constantly new research coming out about new ways of using CBD that hadn’t been thought of before.
Dental health overview
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides some basic information on worldwide dental health. One of the first things to know about oral diseases is that they’re actually the most common non-communicable diseases (non-contagious) out there. In fact, a study on the Global Burden of Disease found that literally half the world’s population suffers from some sort of oral ailment, with tooth decay coming in at #1.
Unfortunately, dental care is often not very affordable, leaving many people in the world to never receive what they need, which often means living life in pain and discomfort. People that come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, or poorer countries, are way more likely to feel the health inequality gap that exists in dental health. For this reason, having better, and more affordable options for basic dental care and oral disease protection becomes very important.
CBD in dental care research
An interesting new study came out in January of 2020 that investigated the efficiency of CBD vs known oral care products in reducing the amount of bacteria in dental plaque, which is responsible for all kinds of mouth ailments like cavities, bleeding gums, tooth decay, and tooth loss. The sixty test subjects in the study were split into six different categories according to the Dutch periodontal screening index. All participants were 18-45 years old.
The methodology of the study was to take dental plaque from all of the participants and spread each sample across two separate petri dishes, with each petri dish split into four parts, making for eight different places to test each specimen.
The eight things being compared for their ability to fight bacteria in dental plaque were: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), Oral B, Colgate, and Cannabite F (a toothpaste made from pomegranate and algae). After being sealed and incubated, the number of bacteria colonies were counted. The results of the study showed cannabinoids to actually be more effective than the well-known oral products like Colgate and Oral B.
When it comes to tooth and mouth care in general, most people shop for their standard drugstore products that they’re used to seeing ads for on TV, and which they’ve probably been using for years. Some might even believe that what they use every day is the best option out there. In fact, many products like toothpastes and mouthwashes come with dentist recommended statements, leading to even more trust that these products are the best to use.
A study like this one clearly indicates that this might very well not be true at all, and possibly much better options can be found in non-chemical, more natural forms that have the capacity to do a better job.
Another research study done earlier, in 2012, looked at induced periodontitis (inflammation of the gums) in rats, and the role of endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). All the rats were exposed to stress, and the results were: corticosterone plasma levels, locomotor activity, adrenal gland weight, and bone loss were all increased, as well as less weight gain.
There was also increased inflammation of the gingival (gum) tissue among other factors. Basically, the rats all responded to the stress by showing different forms of stress-related activity in their bodies. An injection was given locally of AEA to one group, and the results showed a decrease in corticosterone plasma levels and the content of certain cytokines (proteins involved in cell signaling). “These AEA-induced inhibitions were mediated by CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.”
The basic results showed that “The endocannabinoid AEA diminishes the inflammatory response in periodontitis even during a stressful situation.” The rats, after receiving the injection of AEA showed a reduction in much of their stress responses. This research implies that since CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, it could possibly be useful in treating gingivitis – an inflammation of the gums.
While it’s true that high quality CBD products aren’t always cheap, the preventative properties (when it comes to many things) may possibly outweigh the costs of dealing with the resulting health issues that come from not practicing good self-care.
Sometimes this is because people don’t know what to do, sometimes people simply lack the motivation to do what they should, and others still just don’t have the resources available to them to use preventative healthcare methods. If CBD is actually that effective in reducing bacteria and inflammation in the mouth, this could be incredibly useful for people who don’t have as much access to dental care, or can’t afford it.