Fact or Fiction: Smokeless Tobacco Isn’t Bad For You

Fiction.  When it comes to tobacco and the nicotine and chemicals associated with it, any type of it is bad for your overall health and bad for your teeth and gums.  Smokeless tobacco is no exception to this.  It is just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.  It has both non-harmful and harmful effects on your mouth, teeth, and gums.  No matter anyway you look at, chewing tobacco and snuff will only have detrimental effects on you.

Non-Harmful Effects

The non-harmful effects of chewing tobacco and snuff are not something to take lightly.  There are social implications involved when you use smokeless tobacco.  Your teeth get stained yellow and you get bad breath.  Most people who come across someone who uses chewing tobacco and snuff do not want to be near the person.  They find it repulsive and can’t bare the smell of it.  So, if you use chewing tobacco or snuff and you find people stepping back from you when you have a conversation with them, it’s probably because they find the smell of your breath offensive.

Harmful Effects

This is where you get down to the basics of giving yourself extremely bad health problems because you use chewing tobacco or snuff.  There are a multitude of reasons why you shouldn’t use it:

  • The risk of oral cancer and cancer of the throat and esophagus is very high.
  • It damages and irritates your gum tissue, causing it to move away or recede.
  • There is an increased risk of tooth decay because your gums have receded.
  • The exposed roots causes sensitive teeth, making hot and cold beverages and food irritating, uncomfortable, and painful to drink and eat.
  • The risk of tooth decay is increased because the sugars in it to make it flavorful causes damage to the enamel.
  • Your teeth will grind out because chewing tobacco and snuff contain grit and sand.
  • Your receding gums will never grow back.

Smokeless tobacco is just as addictive as smoking cigarettes, maybe even more so.  Chewing tobacco or snuff for 30 minutes is equivalent to smoking 3 cigarettes.  This makes quitting even more difficult.  With chewing tobacco and snuff, you are getting more nicotine and chemicals all at once.  Your body wants and craves it more.  It is a bad cycle that is difficult to break.

But, you can break the habit.  You could quit cold turkey, but the success rate with doing that is very low.  The best thing to do is enroll in a tobacco quitting program.  Follow everything they tell you, get a quit buddy, and start living a new life.  You will see your breath will smell better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll look better.  The only thing you are losing is a bad habit that is unhealthy for you on every level.

Call Dr. Neely at (405) 302-0100 for an appointment.  We serve patients from Edmond OK and surrounding areas.

About monicaneelydds

Dr. Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases.

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