Chewing Tobacco Can Harm Your Smile
LET’S FACE THE FACTS…chewing tobacco may be smokeless, but it’s definitely not harmless! In fact, the effects of chewing tobacco on your teeth and overall health are very serious, so don’t stay in the dark.
Smokeless tobacco just isn’t worth it. In fact, the effects it has on your teeth alone should be enough to scare anyone away! Here’s why…
- Increased Tooth Decay: The sugar that is added to smokeless tobacco may improve its taste, but it can also damage your tooth enamel and contribute to cavities.
- Tooth Abrasion: The sand and grit in chewing tobacco products can wear away tooth enamel, resulting in added sensitivity and potential corrective treatment.
- Tooth Discoloration & Bad Breath: Prolonged use of chewing tobacco can stain your teeth and give you hard-to-mask foul breath…two unattractive traits.
- Gum Recession: Keeping a small wad of chewing tobacco in your mouth causes constant irritation to your gums. This can result in permanent damage to your gums and the bones supporting them. Injured gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots underneath them which can cause extreme sensitivity and additional decay. If the bone is eroded too much, it can even result in permanent tooth loss.
- Oral Cancer: Chewing tobacco leaves your gums, cheeks and lips in constant exposure to irritating juices that can lead to a pre-cancerous condition called leukoplakia. Most brands of smokeless tobacco are packed with high concentrations of potentially cancerous agents. This can result in cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.
If you regularly chew smokeless tobacco, ever have in the past, or know someone who does, be on the lookout for some of these early signs of oral cancer:
A lump or white patch
A sore that won’t heal
The constant feeling that something’s in your throat
A prolonged sore throat
Restricted movement of your tongue or jaw
Unfortunately, pain isn’t typically one of the early symptoms, which is why it’s extra important to visit our practice regularly and inform us of any concerns or symptoms you may have. Early detection goes a long way in preventing problems in the future. Your oral and overall health are our number one concern.