Q. Is chewing tobacco better for your health than smoking cigarettes?
A. Although it may seem like the better option, smokeless tobacco is just as harmful to your oral health as smoking cigarettes. This is because they both contain a wide variety of toxins that have been linked to causing cancer.
It’s not really the most enjoyable of conversations I have with my patients, but quitting any tobacco will have a significantly positive impact on your oral health and reduce the risk of getting oral cancer.
Chewing tobacco — also known as chew or snuff — can cause severe irritation to the tissue along your gums as it sits right along the gum line. Some chewing tobacco products contain sugars so that they improve the flavour, and while that may help your mouth to produce more saliva, it increases the risk of tooth decay. Some of the effects that smokeless tobacco can have on your oral health are bad breath and yellow teeth. It can also weaken your sense of taste and cause red sores and patches inside your mouth that can turn into cancer and also increases your risk of gum disease.
Chewing tobacco and smoking are the biggest causes of different types of oral cancer, affecting your oesophagus, throat, tongue, larynx and salivary glands.
These are caused by the different types of poisonous toxins and harmful carcinogens. The best way you can prevent risks of getting oral cancer is to stop smoking and chewing tobacco altogether.
It may seem hard at first, but it is worth speaking to your dentist or doctor about it.