San Diego Periodontist: Why Smokeless Tobacco isn’t Safer than Smoking

hand grabbing chewing tobaccoHopefully, you realize that cigarette smoke presents a serious risk to your oral and systemic health. While smokeless tobacco is just as dangerous, some people seem to be under the impression that chewing tobacco, as opposed to burning it, makes it less of a threat. Unfortunately, that’s not true, and the misconception may be placing some patients at an unnecessary risk for oral cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Your San Diego periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explains what’s in your smokeless tobacco, and why it’s just as much of a bane to your health as smoking cigarettes.

What’s in Your Smokeless Tobacco?

Nicotine is one of tobacco’s most notorious ingredients, but there are over 3,000 chemicals found in smokeless tobacco, many of which are known to cause cancer and other serious health issues. Below are just a few of the harmful chemicals found in smokeless tobacco, along with their surprising true natures;

  • Formaldehyde—also known as embalming fluid
  • Cadmium—found in battery acid and nuclear reactor shields
  • Polonium 210—nuclear waste
  • (S)-N’-nitrosonornicotine, or (S)-NNN—chemical that induces oral cancer

Tobacco and Your Oral Health

As significant as oral cancer is, it isn’t the only manner in which tobacco use threatens your smile. The various chemicals can interfere with the normal function of healthy oral tissue cells, inhibiting the flow of oxygenated blood and your cells’ ability to heal. The interference makes you more likely to develop severe periodontal disease and suffer tooth loss as a result. Not to mention, smokeless tobacco is one of the most significant contributors to oral cancer, which claims the lives of around 8,000 people every year.

Learn More from Your San Diego Periodontist

To learn more about the dangers of smoking and smokeless tobacco, or to receive help quitting your tobacco habit, seek the expertise of your San Diego periodontist. You can contact Dr. Kania by calling our office at (760) 642-0711. Located in the 92024 area, we proudly serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.