It is no secret that tobacco products are running rampant in today’s society as nearly every corner bombards us with the latest nicotine-filled substance. We repeatedly hear of the devastating effects of cigarettes and cigars on our lungs, but it’s time we take a closer look at the horrifying impacts these products have on another valuable asset: our mouths. Smokeless tobacco is the perhaps worst offender when it comes to the health of the mouth, causing the following:
Over time, the nicotine from the tobacco will cause the teeth to turn yellow, and there will be nothing you can do about it! Brushing will have no effect on your efforts to whiten teeth as the product will stick to your enamel permanently.
As use of smokeless tobacco increases, gums will begin to recede and the bottom portion of the teeth will start to show, leading to loose teeth or a heavy increase in bacteria. Sweeteners in the tobacco, causing a more palatable flavor for chewers, will also add to further gum recession. As time progresses, the sweeteners will attack teeth, causing tooth abrasion and eventually decay. Receding gums are no longer able to properly support teeth in the mouth and decaying teeth continue to rot.
Cancer And Other Lesions
Undoubtedly, cancer is the worst effect of smokeless tobacco. Not only is cancer devastating to health and overall well-being, but it can be incredibly painful. Teeth can continue to fall out and make it nearly impossible to consume food. Cancer can develop in the mouth, throat and larynx. While surgery is an option to remove the cancer, it often leaves the mouth and face permanently disfigured. Additionally, smokeless tobacco causes what is known as a “Pan Chewer’s Lesion,” which is a dark encrusting on the tongue and sides of the mouth. This can be scraped off, but it an be difficult to completely remove as white patches continue to form on the sides of the mouth. Another pre-cancerous condition is sub mucous fibrosis in which fibrous strands develop in the mouth. These strands often restrict the opening of the mouth, appearing to be long, stringy, unattractive fibers.
Smokeless tobacco is the arch-rival of a healthy, clean mouth. By destroying and attacking from the inside, the mouth becomes a wasteland for bad breath, rotting teeth, and irreversible diseases that severely impact overall oral health. With this information in mind, it is our hope that the next time you pass that corner street vendor, you’ll think before you chew.