Cannabis Use and Oral Health: Austin Le, ’20, is Lead Author on Study of Oral Health Implications of Increased Cannabis Use Among Older Adults


Austin Le, Class of 2020 and research associate in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health, is the lead author on a new paper published online on August 22, 2018, in the Journal of Substance Abuse. Mr. Le's coauthor, Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, is an associate professor in the NYU Langone Health Department of Population Health.

The paper, "Oral Health Implications of Increased Cannabis Use Among Older Adults: Another Public Health Concern?" explores the latest trends in prevalence of cannabis use among older Americans and summarizes the literature on the oral health status of older adults and the oral effects of cannabis use. The current literature suggests that frequent or long-term cannabis use is significantly associated with dental caries and periodontal disease, though additional studies to corroborate findings or elucidate etiology are needed.

The authors conclude that the prevalence of cannabis use – as potential risk factor for several oral diseases – has significantly increased among the older population in recent years. Coupled with the unprecedented rates at which the size of this cohort continues to grow, the future health burden imposed by this group may be even greater than initially anticipated. This raises several questions for future research and may have implications for numerous stakeholders involved in public health and policy.