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M. S. Warshanna, DMD
The Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco
Angel Dental Care

The Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco users are at high risk of developing the following
Cancer of the mouth, tongue, and pharynx (voice box)
Leukoplakia (thickened, whitish oral lesions that can lead to cancer)
Nicotine addiction
Gum recession (gums pulling back away from the teeth) and periodontal (gum) disease
Bone loss around the teeth, so teeth can become loose
Abrasion and staining of teeth
Cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure
Diminished appetite
Persistent bad breath
A Highly Toxic, and
Addictive Drug
Nicotine is a drug that occurs naturally in all forms of tobacco. Studies have shown that the body becomes physically and psychologically addicted to nicotine. Smokeless tobacco delivers a powerful dose of nicotine directly to the bloodstream. The level of nicotine in a smokeless tobacco users blood can be even higher than that of a cigarette smoker.
By itself, chewing tobacco has a bitter flavor. To make it more appealing, manufacturers add sugar and salt to the mix, as well as a gritty substance (which wears away tooth enamel) and nitrosamines (a known cancer-causing agent). To date, 28 cancer-causing substances have been identified in smokeless tobacco.
Danger Signs of Oral Cancer
Long-term users of smokeless tobacco have a 50% greater risk of developing oral cancer than non-users, and pain is rarely an early symptom of this serious disease. Because of this, it can progress to an advanced stage, for which treatment is not only less effective, but disfiguring. Be sure to let us know if you notice any of the following symptoms
A lump or thickened, whitish patch (leukoplakia)
A sore that doesnt heal
Difficulty chewing
A prolonged sore throat, or a feeling that you have something stuck in your throat
Restricted movement in your tongue or your jaws
Diminished appetite
Persistent bad breath
If lesions develop, sometimes simply quitting the smokeless tobacco habit will eliminate the lesions. But if the lesions are long-standing, surgical removal is often necessary. Biopsy (microscopic examination of a tissue sample) is a must for all tobacco-related lesions to make an accurate diagnosis and ensure that no cancer cells are present.

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