Cigarette sales at most La Jolla stores have decreased in the past decade, but some tobacco consumers have switched to smokeless products.
There is a common misconception (especially among teens) that smokeless tobacco is harmless. This is absolutely not true. Regardless of the specific type: spit tobacco, snuff, chew, or pinch, this form of tobacco is as deadly as conventional cigarettes.
At Weston Spencer DDS – Conservative Comprehensive Dentistry, we encounter serious consequences of smokeless tobacco use because many occur in the mouth. Oral cancer, mouth lesions, gum disease and tooth decay are the most common dental problems caused by smokeless tobacco.
Keeping a pinch between your cheek and gum all day is worse than keeping an all-day sucker tucked in there. The tobacco contains almost as much sugar as the candy but delivers harmful chemicals as an added bonus. The dangers are two-fold: the tobacco erodes the teeth and also causes the gums to pull away from teeth.
Precancerous Mouth Lesion Screening: Mouth lesions are painful sores that could eventually become cancer. If smokeless tobacco use is stopped, the lesions typically disappear within a year for many dental patients.
Oral Cancer: Smokeless tobacco use increases the risk of several types of life-threatening cancers including those of the mouth, gums, lips, tongue, and throat.
Oral cancers can be as deadly as lung cancer and usually require surgery. If the patient is fortunate and the cancer is successfully removed with surgery, the collateral damage to the face, neck, or jaw is not pretty.
These are the main dental risks of smokeless tobacco. Moreover, I should also mention two other biggies: addiction and heart disease, though those are topics for another day.
At Weston Spencer DDS – Conservative Comprehensive Dentistry in La Jolla, we perform oral cancer screenings and mouth lesions examinations. To receive more information, or schedule an appointment, call 858-459-0077.
If you want to quit using smokeless tobacco products, we recommend that you communicate with Dentist Spencer at Weston Spencer DDS – Conservative Comprehensive Dentistry, your primary care doctor, or your pharmacist.
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