Smokeless Tobacco Is Still Harmful For Your Health
By: Dr. Jed Jacobson, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H. Cigarette smoking continues to decline in about half of American states, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but in some states smokeless tobacco usage may have taken its place. Many believe that smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products are still hazardous to your oral and overall health. Smokeless tobacco is also called spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, chew, chaw, dip, and plug, and all products can lead to very harmful diseases in the mouth and overall body. Whether it’s snuff or chewing tobacco, it’s supposed to sit in the mouth and suck on the tobacco juices, spitting often to get rid of the saliva that builds up. This sucking and chewing allows nicotine to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the tissues in the mouth. Smokeless products can cause bad breath, yellowish-brown stains on your teeth, and mouth sores at first, but there are more problems that surface after repeated use. Other oral concerns include cracking and bleeding lips and gums, and receding gums — which can eventually cause the teeth to fall out. The mouth isn’t the only part of the body that can feel the effects of smokeless tobacco. Overall, users can expect an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats. These symptoms all lead to a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes and brain damage. With oral cancer, the risk of using smokeless tobacco products has the same hazardous result as it does with smoke products. Smokeless Tobacco is safe when you compare this product relative to lung cancer, but oral cancer and the other harmful consequences can eventually cause death.