Is Smokeless Tobacco Harmful?

January 2, 2012 in Dentistry by McCarl Dental Group

YES! Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.

At McCarl Dental Group we care about your oral health and also your overall health! We recently had a question regarding a YouTube video that one of our patients requested that we post on our website. Unfortunately, this patient was diagnosed with oral cancer. Fortunately his treatment was very successful. The cancer was located at the base of the tongue beyond visible range and was not visible upon oral examination. It was diagnosed by an ear nose and throat doctor. The question asked  what percentage of people who dip everyday will get mouth cancer? We researched and were not able to find those specific statistics. Here is the information we found.

Wishing you a healthy and blessed New Year!

Harmful health effects of smokeless tobacco include:

  • Mouth, tongue and throat cancer
  • Cancer in the esophagus
  • Stomach cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Addiction to nicotine
  • Leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can become cancer)
  • Receding gums (gums slowly shrink from around the teeth)
  • Bone loss around the roots of the teeth
  • Abrasion (scratching and wearing down) of teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Stained teeth
  • Bad breath

Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines and a known cause of human cancer. They increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus and pancreas. (Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010)

Smokeless tobacco products are considered less lethal but are NOT a safe alternative to smoking. Use of tobacco in any form harms health and can also lead to nicotine addiction.

Results from a large American Cancer Society study showed that people who switched from cigarettes to snuff or chewing tobacco had higher death rates from heart disease, stroke, cancer of the mouth and lung, and all causes of death combined than former smokers who stopped using ALL tobacco products.

The American Cancer Society, the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Toxicology Program have all issued strong reports warning on the adverse health effects of smokeless tobacco.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011)

Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in our society. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011)

Lung cancer estimates for 2011 (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011):

New cases of lung cancer: 221,130

Males: 115,060

Females: 106,070

Deaths from lung cancer: 156,940

Males: 85,600

Females: 71,340