Cigarette sales at most stores have decreased in the past decade, but some Boulder County tobacco consumers have switched to smokeless products.
There is a common misconception in the Boulder area (especially among teens) that smokeless tobacco is harmless. This is absolutely not true. Regardless of the specific type: spit tobacco, snuff, chew, or pinch, this form of tobacco is as deadly as conventional cigarettes.
At Gordon West DDS, Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we encounter serious consequences of smokeless tobacco use because many occur in the mouth. Oral cancer, mouth lesions, gum disease and tooth decay are the most common dental problems caused by smokeless tobacco in Colorado.
Keeping a pinch between your cheek and gum all day is worse than keeping an all-day sucker. The tobacco contains almost as much sugar as the candy but delivers harmful chemicals as an added bonus. The dangers are two-fold: the tobacco erodes the teeth and also causes the gums to pull away from teeth.
Precancerous Mouth Lesion Screening: Mouth Lesions are painful sores that could eventually become cancer. If smokeless tobacco use is stopped, the lesions often disappear within a year for cosmetic dentistry patients.
Oral Cancer: Smokeless tobacco use in Boulder County increases the risk for several types of life-threatening cancers including those of the mouth, gums, lips, tongue, and throat.
Oral cancers can be as deadly as lung cancer and usually require surgery. If the patient is fortunate and the cancer is successfully removed with surgery, the collateral damage to the face, neck, or jaw is not pretty.
These are the main dental risks of smokeless tobacco. I should also mention two other biggies: addiction and heart disease, though those are topics for another day.
At Gordon West DDS, Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Lafayette, CO, we perform oral cancer screenings and mouth lesions examinations. To schedule an appointment, call 720-862-3630. If you have lost teeth, talk to us about dental implants.
If want to quit using smokeless tobacco products, we recommend that you consult Dr. West at Gordon West DDS, Cosmetic & General Dentistry, your primary care doctor, or your pharmacist.
Gordon West DDS, Cosmetic & General Dentistry
1140 W South Boulder Rd, Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado 80026