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Reasons Chewing Tobacco is Bad for your Oral Health


Posted on 5/27/2015 by Janie Bell

A man's hand holding an open can of chewing tobacco. Many people are under the assumption that chewing tobacco is a much better alternative to smoking cigarettes. While you might be saving your lungs from some damage, you could actually be putting your oral health at higher risk for damage. Tobacco in any way, shape, or form is bad for your health and should be avoided. Even the new-fangled smokeless tobacco, Snus, is damaging to your oral health. If you are unfamiliar with the risks of chewing tobacco, you need to learn the risks so that you can start the process of quitting today.

Causes Oral Cancer

It probably is not a surprise to learn that tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, causes cancer. There are more than 25 chemicals in chewing tobacco that can cause cancer. That factor alone should scare anyone to stop using it! The cancers that are most commonly caused are those of the mouth and lips, but cancer can also occur in the voice box and esophagus as well as throughout various organs including the kidneys and pancreas. If you do use tobacco in any form, regular checkups to ensure that oral cancer is not beginning are essential.

Higher Rates for Gum Disease

Gum disease is another serious disease that you need to be aware of if you chew tobacco. Gum disease in its earliest form is treatable, but beyond gingivitis, it is not curable. The key factor, however, is that it is preventable. Just by quitting your chewing tobacco habit, you can cut your risk down quite significantly. Gum disease can harm not only your gums, but can cause you to lose your teeth prematurely and even cause problems with your overall health. Gum disease has been directly correlated with heart disease and stroke - two diseases that could be fatal.

Chewing Tobacco Increases Risk of Teeth Damage

Your teeth are also at risk for using chewing tobacco. Even though tobacco is not really "chewed" it sits in your mouth, which means that you are at risk for a variety of issues with your teeth. One large concern is tooth decay. There are large amounts of sugar in chewing tobacco, which means you are letting that sugar sit on your teeth. If you leave the tobacco in your mouth for long periods of time, that is a lot of exposure to sugar. This sugar eventually wears down your enamel as it feeds off of the bacteria in your mouth, causing the enamel eroding acids that allow tooth decay to occur. In addition, tobacco has abrasive materials in it that can wear down the enamel of your teeth even without the risk of tooth decay. This can cause your teeth to become uneven. This can cause problems with your bite; make you grind your teeth at night; and even put you at risk for tooth pain fi they are ground down far enough.

Chewing tobacco is just as bad for your oral health as smoking cigarettes. If you need help quitting, there are many resources, including our office. We are here to help you enhance your oral health and quit any habits that may be harming it. If you do chew tobacco, it is highly recommended that you see us as often as possible in order to properly clean your teeth and give you a proper checkup to ensure that the health of your teeth are intact, not to mention the fact that we need to check for the presence of oral cancer. The last thing you want to do is lose your life because of a habit that could have been stopped.

If you chew tobacco, call us today for a cleaning and checkup!
D. Ian Bell, D.D.S.
Advanced Aesthetic, Restorative & Family Dentistry
Bellevue-Redmond Professional Center

15613 Bel-Red Rd, Suite A
Bellevue, WA 98008-2348
(425) 883-8333
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