Many people are under the impression that smokeless tobacco is a good alternative to cigarettes, but smokeless or not, it is still tobacco and can still be detrimental to your teeth and gums. Smokeless tobacco – also known as dip or chewing tobacco – can wreak havoc on your mouth, so if you chew, it’s important that you fully understand what you are doing to your mouth.
What Can Chewing Tobacco Do To Your Mouth?
Just because you aren’t smoking tobacco doesn’t mean that chewing tobacco isn’t harmless. When it comes to your oral health, smokeless tobacco can relate to a variety of conditions, including discoloration of your teeth, bad breath, a greater risk of cavities, or decreased sense of taste and smell.
Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gums, causing periodontal disease, and since many options contain abrasives, it can cause your teeth to wear down and erode. Smokeless tobacco will also result in a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
What Can Chewing Tobacco Do to the Rest of Your Body?
It is clear that chewing tobacco is bad news for your teeth, but it can also cause other problems in your body. Just like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is full of cancer-causing chemicals, and in particular, it can increase the incidence of cancers to the tongue, lip, and mouth.
Users are also at a high risk for cancer of the esophagus, voice box, bladder, and colon due to the fact that they often swallow some of the toxins from the chew.
What Should You Do?
If you are using chewing tobacco, it is important that you take steps to stop. This is often easier to say than do, but your dentist may be able to help. Your dentist could prescribe nicotine replacement therapies that could help you to be more successful when you are ready to give up smokeless tobacco.