Is smokeless tobacco harmful?

Smokeless tobacco may be smokeless, but it isn’t harmless. These are some of the potential hazards:

  • Tooth abrasion from grit and sand in tobacco can scratch teeth and wear away the enamel
  • The constant irritation caused by chewing tobacco can result in gum recession and other permanent damage to periodontal tissue
  • Increased tooth decay can result from sugar that is added to smokeless tobacco
  • Tooth discoloration and bad breath are common with long term use
  • Nicotine blood levels are similar to those found in cigarettes
  • A diminished sense of taste and smell caused by tobacco use can lead to unhealthy eating habits
  • Cancer can be caused by all forms of smokeless tobacco

Watch out for some of these danger signs:

  • A sore that does not heal
  • A lump or white patch
  • A prolonged sore throat
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Restricted movement of the tongue or jaw
  • A feeling of something in the throat

Pain is rarely an early symptom. All tobacco users need to see their dentist regularly.