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Is Chewing Tobacco Safer than Smoking?


Posted on 3/13/2017 by Nicholas Dose
A man holding a can of chewing tobacco.
You're well aware of the dangers that smoking has on your teeth, as well as your overall oral health. It stains your teeth, causes bad breath, increases your risk of developing gum disease and other serious oral health issues such as oral cancer.

It also severely affects your ability to heal. And these are just the effects on your oral health. But what about a product that you don't inhale, chewing tobacco?

What is Chewing Tobacco?

As its name implies, chewing tobacco is a tobacco product that you chew, rather than inhale. The product sits in your mouth, between your cheek and your gums. But, if you're not inhaling it, it can't be all that bad, right?

Irritates Gum Tissue

Chewing tobacco spends much of its time sitting between your cheek and your gums. It contains a number of different chemicals, all of which cause irritation along the gum line. As it does so, your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, inviting bacteria to fall below and lead to more severe stages of gum disease. It can also cause:

•  Gum recession.
•  Bone loss (as a result of gum disease).
•  Stains on your teeth.

Causes Bad Breath

It's not just the smoke from the cigarettes that cause bad breath. Chemicals contained in both cigarettes and chewing tobacco, tar and nicotine, are huge contributing factors. Every time you put a piece of chewing tobacco in your mouth, you allow the chemicals to cling to every surface of your mouth. You can brush and floss some of it away, but you won't be able to get rid of all of it, and every new bit just adds to the problem.

Oral Cancer

Smoking is not the habit responsible for oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is just as guilty. These products contain the same cancer-causing chemicals as cigarettes. They also contain higher levels of nicotine than regular cigarettes. In fact, those who use chewing tobacco are actually up to 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer, especially in the areas where the product is held in the mouth.

Just because you don't inhale anything doesn't make chewing tobacco any safer than smoking. Chewing tobacco is just as dangerous for your oral, and overall, health as smoking is. Quitting tobacco products altogether will give you the best chance for a healthy mouth and a healthier body.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about chewing tobacco's effects on your smile.


Call us today
(503) 765-7300
Nicholas Dose, DMD
601 1st Street Suite A
Lake Oswego, OR 97034-2370


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