Chewing Tobacco Damages your Oral Health Just Like Smoking Does
Posted on 7/23/2020 by Dr. Jae Seon Kim
Many people easily assume that just because chewable tobacco doesn't expose them to the risks of carcinogens in smoke, it's safe and 'cool'. But despite what you might have been led to believe through ads and product packages, chewing tobacco is as almost as risky to your dental and overall health as smoking tobacco. They both release toxic compounds that can jeopardize your dental health.
When we're talking about chewable tobacco, we're referring to just about any smokeless tobacco product, whether it's called a plug, a twist, spit, snuff, snus, or dissolvable tobacco.
The Potential Dental Dangers that Lurk in Smokeless Tobacco Products
Smokeless tobacco can stain your teeth as quickly and hardly as smoking tobacco. The stains of smokeless tobacco can be as hard to remove as the bad breath that accompanies them. Also, nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco is absorbed easily in oral tissues. The presence of nicotine in these tissues obstructs proper blood flow that delivers essential nutrients and antibodies needed for the tissues to fight off infection and perform cellular activities.
As such, smokeless tobacco makes users more vulnerable to dental diseases, from gingival recession to tooth abrasion, dry socket, and many others. But the trail of damages that smokeless tobacco can leave behind in your mouth extends well beyond the teeth and gums. It can also give rise to a condition known as black hairy tongue. This occurs when tobacco over-stimulates or suppresses the growth of the tongue's papillae, resulting in abnormal growth of papillae that that trap tobacco pigment. This manifests as a black pigment on the tongue's surface. Besides the unsightly back color of the tongue, this can also cause a strong stench emanating from the tobacco particles trapped on the tongue.
More serious risks include those of oral cancer, precancerous mouth lesion, and other critical dental problems. If you're already grappling with any of these conditions, you need to visit us as soon as possible to forestall any further complications and reverse the damages.