Chewing tobacco can harm your health because it contains toxins, which can cause gum disease. Other possible oral health impacts of tobacco products include: stained teeth and tongue; dulled sense of taste and smell; slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery; difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems; and oral cancer.

You know smoking is bad for you, so it should be no surprise that cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also harmful to your dental health. For one, tobacco products can cause bad breath, but that’s only the beginning. Repeated use of chewing tobacco can lead to gum disease which, if left untreated, can eventually lead to tooth loss. Other possible health impacts include a dulled sense of taste and smell, slow healing after a tooth extraction, and mouth cancer.

Smokeless tobacco goes by many names, such as chewing tobacco, oral tobacco, spitting tobacco, dip, chew, and snuff, but the two basic types of smokeless tobacco are:

  • Chewing tobacco: Long strands of loose leaves, plugs, or twists of tobacco.
  • Snuff: Finely ground tobacco packaged in cans or pouches. It’s sold as dry or moist.

Some of the side effects include:

  • Gum disease that can lead to tooth loss
  • Tissue and bone loss around the roots of the teeth
  • Scratching and wearing down of teeth
  • Stained and discolored teeth
  • Bad breath

Smokeless tobacco products are often marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, or even as a way to help quit smoking. Smokeless tobacco is not a healthy alternative to smoking. Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems.

For more information on how to quit, check out the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smokeless Tobacco.