Major League Oral Health

Chewing Tobacco

For many decades, smokeless tobacco (or chewing tobacco) has been used by baseball players and fans alike. Its use even spawned a style of chewing gum sold as shreds in pouches, to imitate the look and packaging of chewing tobacco. But medical and dental practitioners have long known the damage that chewing tobacco does to the human body. Results include teeth stains, bad breath, gum disease and bone loss. Studies link its use to various oral cancers. As far back as 1993, Major League Baseball (MLB) has taken steps to limit the use of smokeless tobacco in minor leagues, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement in effect at the time nullified any limitations in the Major Leagues.

In 2014, baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer. His cancer was attributed to frequent use of smokeless tobacco. In the wake of his death, the Collective Bargaining Agreement for Major League Baseball finalized of 2016 banned the use of smokeless tobacco by new players. Many players have since volunteered to quit chewing the product completely. 16 of 30 MLB stadiums have worked within state and local laws to become tobacco free. Websites like tobaccofreebaseball.org work to spread the influence and keep not just baseball but all sports free of smokeless tobacco.

Bringing Tobacco-Free to Home Plate

What does this mean for you? Studies have shown that tobacco in any form is damaging to your health. As stated above, smokeless tobacco is linked to oral cancer. When it comes to oral cancer, the sooner it can be detected, the better. Historically, oral cancer remains undetected until it enters later stages. But if oral cancer is detected early, the survival rate increases by over 20%. If you use any form of tobacco, a regular checkup every 6 months with the Placerville Dental Group is critical. Let us know especially if you notice any unusual lesions, color changes with your gums or inside your cheeks, or any other unusual symptoms.

And if you need help with kicking the habit, the Placerville Dental Group is happy to provide advice, referrals, and prescriptions if necessary. Just give our office a call or schedule an appointment online to get started. When you’re tobacco-free, you really are in the big leagues!

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