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Take Care of Your Mouth

April 11, 2014

Smokeless tobacco products come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even flavors. However, despite carrying flavors like Peach, Apple, and Berry Blend, smokeless tobacco products are far from harmless.

Smokeless tobacco can cause serious damage to your mouth and gums. One of the most common lesions that I have seen in patients who use smokeless tobacco is the tobacco chewers white lesion. A clinical term for this lesion is leukoplakia. This appears as a rough, or corrugated, white lesion in the area that the smokeless tobacco is placed. Microscopically, it could be considered a pre-malignant or malignant lesion. A patient does not even have to share with me their smokeless tobacco habit, I can tell just by looking at the tissues.

I have also seen recession or the pulling away of the gums from the teeth, exposing the root surface. In addition, staining of the teeth in the area that the smokeless tobacco is placed and cavities in the areas of the exposed root surface. The use of any type of tobacco is addicting. But there are programs available to assist you in these efforts. See the included link below:
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/smokeless-tobacco

Quitting smokeless tobacco isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you currently use tobacco and are ready to quit, call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW for free help.

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. Smokeless tobacco can have many devastating effects on a person’s oral health and overall health. Be sure to consult with a dental health professional if any suspicious lesions appear in your mouth. For more information on good oral health visit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dentalhealth.html

The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network works to reduce the tobacco burden among Wisconsin’s low-income families.

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