Chewing tobacco is a loose-leaf tobacco. Users tuck a wad of it inside their cheek and keep it inside their mouths for long periods of time, sometimes several hours. Snuff, which is becoming more popular than chewing tobacco, is a finely powered tobacco. Users place a pinch of snuff between their gum and lower lip. Although many people are not aware, chewing tobacco and using snuff are just as dangerous as smoking.
Health risks of Snuff and Chewing Tobacco
There are numerous health risks associated with using smokeless tobacco including:
- Oral cancer – there is also increased risk of cancers of the larynx, pharynx (throat).
- Nicotine dependence – nicotine levels in snuff and chewing tobacco are higher than cigarettes.
- Gum recession – irritation from smokeless tobacco can cause gums to pull away from the teeth.
- Tooth abrasion – smokeless tobacco texture can wear down the teeth.
- Increased tooth decay – smokeless tobacco has sugar added to improve the taste, this can increase tooth decay.
- Bad breath – people who use smokeless tobacco often notice they have persistent bad breath.
- Tooth discoloration – smokeless tobacco causes stains on the surface of the teeth.
- Bad eating habits – these forms of tobaccos lessen users’ senses of smell and taste which can negatively affect their food choices.
*Sometimes change in the oral tissue from oral tobacco can necessitate a biopsy (tissue removal/sample) to evaluate if the lesion is precancerous or oral cancer. If it is, then further surgery or treatment may be needed.
If you need oral surgery, or you are having some dental issues, contact Riverside Oral & Facial Surgery and talk to Dr. Hunt or Dr. Smalley today. They will be only too happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.