By info
December 01, 2011
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What effects can smokeless tobacco have on my oral health?

Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products contain a variety of toxins associated with cancer. At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco is known to cause cancers of the mouth, lip, tongue, and pancreas. Users also may be at risk for cancer of the voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder, because they swallow some of the toxins in the juice created by using smokeless tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gum tissue, causing periodontal (gum) disease. Sugar is often added to enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, increasing the risk for tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco also typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth. 

Signs and symptoms that could indicate oral cancer include:

  • any sign of irritation, like tenderness, burning or a sore that will not heal;
  • pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips;
  • development of a lump, or a leathery, wrinkled or bumpy patch inside your mouth; color changes to your oral soft tissues (gray, red or white spots or patches), rather than a healthy pink color;
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue;
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together.

See your dentist or physician if you notice any of these changes 

*Information taken from the ADA website

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