Chew, dip, snuff — there’s many names for smokeless tobacco, but one thing it cannot be called is “harmless.” Chewing tobacco is more popular in some parts of the United States than others, but if you watch baseball or rodeo, you see people chewing tobacco. Some dip or chew because they say it’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Is this claim true?
The Problem With Tobacco
When someone chews tobacco, the nicotine is absorbed directly into the blood through the mouth’s soft tissues. Even after the tobacco is spit out, the nicotine levels in the blood remain, and at a higher level than for smokers of cigarettes. This is one of the reasons why chewing tobacco is favored by its users. The problem is that tobacco products of any kind, including smokeless tobacco, contain harmful chemicals. At least 28 of the chemicals in chewing tobacco are found to be cancer causing. The most hazardous chemicals found in chewing tobacco are nitrosamines, formed during the manufacturing process. As with all tobacco products, chewing tobacco naturally contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
- Throat and oral cancer,
- Cancer of the esophagus,
- Pancreatic cancer,
- Stomach cancer,
- Leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can lead to cancer),
- Gum disease and periodontitis,
- Bone loss around the roots of the teeth,
- Tooth decay and cavities,
- Discolored and stained teeth,
- Hairy tongue and halitosis.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, the staff at the Placerville Dental Group urges you to quit as soon as possible. Until then, it is imperative that you receive regular and thorough dental exams from our Placerville dentists. These exams include screenings for oral cancer. Don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment, thinking you have to quit chewing or smoking tobacco first. The dentists and hygienists at the Placerville Dental Group are not here to judge you, but to help support your oral health.
We all have the right to make medically informed decisions, and using chewing tobacco is one of them, but ignoring the potential consequences and failing to act appropriately by getting regular exams is dangerous.