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Does Chewing Tobacco Harm Your Mouth as Much as Smoking?


Posted on 10/20/2019 by Dr. Andrew Zeiger
Does Chewing Tobacco Harm Your Mouth as Much as Smoking?One of the most effective products in the world that causes cavities is tobacco. Whether you use smoking tobacco or smokeless tobacco, it's been linked to cavities and gum disease in many studies. Each form of tobacco has negative effects on the oral cavity. Many people question which is worse for your oral care, smoking or smokeless tobacco?

Effects of smokeless tobacco

If you are concerned about cancer, smoking puts you at risk 10x higher than chewing. This is due to the lungs being much more sensitive than teeth. That being said, chewing tobacco increases your risk of cavities and gum disease four times more than smoking.

The cavities are usually at the gum line, also causing gum disease. Using smokeless tobacco produces a specific change in the area of the mouth where it's normally held. It will appear more whitish and wrinkled than your normal healthy tissue. Studies show if someone stops using tobacco, the appearance of the tissue in the mouth will return to normal in two to six weeks.

Effects of smoking tobacco

With tobacco chew causing higher rates of cavities, don't get too excited yet, if you are a smoker, multiple studies show smokers are 4x more at risk for cavities and gum disease than non-smokers. Smoking dehydrates the mouth, leaving teeth covered with a film shown to aid in plaque growth. As soon as someone decides to quit smoking, the risk of oral cancer begins to decrease. In studies, it is generally acknowledged that it takes around fifteen years after you quit smoking for the risk of a prior smoker to approach that of someone that has never smoked.

The bottom line with tobacco is chewing it will affect your teeth and gums quicker than smoking. Smoking puts you 10x higher of developing cancer. They both cause cavities and put you at a higher risk for gum disease. Quitting now has infinite benefits. If you are interested in a checkup or for further information about tobacco and its effect on your oral health, give us a call today.
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