Is Chewing Tobacco Safer for Your Mouth Than Smoking?
Posted on 9/20/2019 by Janie Scholes
If you smoke tobacco and you want to quit and feel that switching to chewing tobacco is a safe alternative, think again. All forms of tobacco are harmful to your oral health because they put you at risk for things like periodontal disease and receding gums, not to mention oral cancers, lung cancer and chemical dependency complications.
Chewing Tobacco is Not Safe
In 1986, the Surgeon General released a statement that concluded that people who use chewing tobacco should know that it is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. Just like cigarettes, chewing tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. In addition to the nicotine, it contains many other chemicals. Both smoking and chewing tobacco increase your risks for developing oral cancer and periodontal disease. If you require surgery such as gum grafting procedures to repair receding gums, tobacco can also cause you to heal slower after surgery.
Chewing tobacco can also irritate the gum tissue, causing it to recede and become infected. When the gums pull away from the teeth, they leave little pockets of space where bacteria, plaque and tartar can begin to build up. This leads to decay and eventually tooth loss if left untreated.
When a person uses chewing tobacco, they generally hold the product in their mouth along the gum line. While this does irritate the gums, it also causes increased saliva production, which leads to frequent spitting, sucking and chewing. This motion causes excessive wear on the tissues of the mouth and can lead to not only periodontal disease, but oral and throat, lip or gum cancer as well.
If you are a frequent user of chewing tobacco or any other tobacco product and you would like more information on breaking the habit, give our office a call. We would be happy to help you find a way to kick the habit at your next checkup.