The staff at the Sacramento Dentistry Group is not here to judge you, they are here to help you.”
Known as chewing tobacco, spitting tobacco, dip, chew, and snuff – smokeless tobacco is simply tobacco that is not burned or smoked, but put into the mouth. While its popularity varies by region of the country, if you watch baseball or have attended a rodeo of any kind, you have seen people use chewing tobacco. The practice has a long history in North America, Europe, India, Asia and parts of Africa. It comes in the form of loose leaves, plugs or bricks, twists of rope, and powder. No form is safe, healthy, or without health risks.
All tobacco products contain harmful chemicals and at least 28 of the chemicals in smokeless tobacco have been found to cause cancer. The most harmful of these are nitrosamines, which are formed during the process of growing, curing and processing tobacco. All tobacco products naturally contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. With chewing tobacco, the nicotine is absorbed directly into the blood through the mouth tissues. Even after the tobacco is removed from the mouth, the nicotine levels in the blood remain, and at a higher level than for smokers of cigarettes and cigars.
What kinds of illnesses are caused by chewing tobacco?
- Throat, tongue, cheek, gum and mouth cancer,
- Cancer of the esophagus,
- Pancreatic cancer,
- Stomach cancer,
- Leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can lead to cancer),
- Receding gums and gum disease,
- Loss of bone around the roots of the teeth,
- Tooth decay and cavities,
- Discolored and stained teeth,
- Bad breath and hairy tongue.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, it is in your best interest to quit as soon as possible. Until that day comes, it is vital that you receive regular and thorough dental exams that include visual checks for signs of oral cancers. If you’ve been putting off making an appointment for a dental checkup because you’re hoping to quit chewing tobacco or smoking first, go ahead and make an appointment now! The staff at the Sacramento Dentistry Group is not here to judge you, they are here to help you.
You have the right to make medically informed decisions, and using chewing tobacco is one of them. You should not, however, ignore the potential consequences of those decisions and fail to act appropriately by getting regular examinations. That is truly dangerous.