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A bright smile and clean bill of dental health go a long way for overall well-being and appearance, so don’t undo your pristine dental hygiene with bad habits like smoking or chewing tobacco (sometimes called ‘dip’, ‘chew’, or ‘snuff’).
Smoking cigarettes and chewing smokeless tobacco (and all forms of tobacco use) are some of the worst things you can do for your teeth, and the damage goes so far beyond the effects on how you look. Many of the chemicals in dip and other tobacco products are absorbed directly into the tongue, throat, and cheek. This can lead to numerous dental issues including cancer of the mouth or throat.
Some people mistakenly think that dip is better for your teeth because you aren’t inhaling the smoke. However, dipping can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, gum recession, mouth sores, mouth cancer, and other serious dental issues. Although dental procedures can help remedy some of these problems, they can be extremely costly. The best prevention for these dental health risks is to quit use of all tobacco products. Find out some of the devastating effects of chewing dip and other tobacco use and what, if anything, you can do to reverse them.
Can Chewing Dip Cause Tooth Decay?
In addition to the risk for heart disease and stroke, smokeless tobacco is also public enemy number one for your teeth.
Sugar is often added to dip to enhance its flavor, and this can significantly elevate the risk of tooth decay by damaging your tooth enamel and contributing to an influx of cavities.
Having a small “pinch” of chewing tobacco nestled by your gums is not worth the constant irritation and the permanent damage it can cause to your gums and nearby bone.
Broken gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, triggering sensitivity and exposure to tooth decay. Once gums recede, they do not grow back, and if the surrounding bone erodes too much, you may even lose your tooth.
The more you use dipping tobacco, the more susceptible you are to cancer. In fact, users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Beyond those, other risks include stomach, pancreas, esophagus, laryngeal and pharynx cancers. Not to mention the fact that prolonged dipping can stain your teeth and cause your hands and clothing to smell as well. Quitting now is your best form of prevention of these and other tobacco related health risks.
Do Your Gums Grow Back After Dipping?
If your gums start receding, unfortunately, they will never grow back. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, when the gum tissue has pulled back and away from your teeth, the damage is permanent.
There are dental treatments available for gingival recession, depending on how far your gums have receded and if you are displaying symptoms of periodontal diseases or infections of the structures around the teeth.
One option is a gum graft to replace the lost tissue. If there are signs of gum disease, the dentist may recommend a deep teeth cleaning first to remove any bacteria and debris. Pinhole surgery involves manipulating existing gum tissue over the exposed roots.
Can I Whiten My Teeth While Dipping?
Because stains on teeth from smoking tobacco often occur over years of smoking, they are usually difficult to remove. If the stains have advanced deep into the enamel, they will also often breach the outer layer of the dentin.
If you must continue to dip, luckily you can remove tobacco stains and whiten your teeth through professional whitening because the cleaning solutions at professional dental offices are much stronger than anything you can buy over the counter.
The Lasting Effects of Smokeless Tobacco
According to the CDC, smokeless tobacco can cause gray or white spots inside the mouth -called leukoplakia- that can lead to cancer. Studies have found that 60 to 78 percent of smokeless tobacco users have oral lesions of some variety, most occuring within the first three years of use. Dip can also cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss; along with the risk for early delivery and stillbirth pregnancies.
If you’re still considering reaching for that can of dip, think about your pearly whites and how much they mean to you. What does dip do to my teeth? Not only will smokeless tobacco cause you and your clothes to smell, but it is also known to create additional problems in the future.
For more information about what dip does to your teeth, or to schedule your appointment for a check-up, give Friendly Dentistry a call today at (336) 272-4595. If you are a smokeless tobacco user, it’s not a bad idea to know where your dental health stands. If there is an issue it’s vital to address it early, so you and your wallet can avoid the pain in the future. We want you to look and feel your best when you grin and bear it, and that starts with excellent dental health.