Who would ever have thought that snuff, or chewing tobacco, would gain in popularity? Associated with baseball players and cowboys in old westerns – smokeless tobacco is gaining attention – and for all the wrong reasons.
Though the use of cigarettes has declined significantly over the past ten years, thanks in part to an increase in cost and tighter restrictions on where you can smoke – smokeless tobacco use has increased, especially amongst the young, resulting in a new generation of people dealing with tobacco related health issues. Smokeless tobacco may not generate the familiar puffs of smoke – but its damage to oral tissue is just as devastating and potentially lethal. Containing at least twenty-eight known carcinogens, smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) also contains formaldehyde, cadmium and arsenic. Due to the very nature of the substance and placement of the tobacco – partakers of smokeless tobacco are at increased risk of oral cancer, gum and periodontal disease, tooth decay and premature tooth loss, reduced taste sensory and reduced healing after dental treatment.
Our dentists are passionate about helping patients make the mouth body connection – acknowledging that the health of one greatly influences the health of the other. The connection between oral health and systemic health is well documented – and what happens in the mouth can directly heighten a person’s risk for developing, or controlling, certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smokeless Tobacco use is associated with increased gum and periodontal disease – diseases well known for contributing to increased systemic inflammation that greatly impedes a body’s ability to function optimally.
Interestingly smokeless tobacco users have a higher incidence of dental decay, compared to cigarette smokers, due to the lashings of sugar added by manufacturers to enhance the taste of an otherwise unpalatable substance. The sugar content, doubled with the fact that a wad of tobacco may be kept in the mouth for hours, all add-up to tooth decay and irritated tissue. Throw stained teeth, bad breath and the risk for developing cancer of the lip, cheek, gum or tongue in to the mix – there really isn’t anything to be gained by using any form of tobacco.
If you need help quitting your tobacco habit, contact Centennial Smiles today! (587) 317-7959
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