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Smokeless Tobacco and Your Health

Two female friends discussing the effects of smokeless tobacco. Learn more at www.BeTobaccoFree.gov.

Can smokeless tobacco affect my oral health?

It may cause tooth decay in exposed tooth roots. It can also cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. If this happens, your gums will not grow back.

Additionally, leathery white patches and red sores are common in dippers and chewers. Those patches and sores can turn into cancer.

Does smokeless tobacco cause cancer?

Smokeless tobacco is tobacco that is not burned. It includes chewing tobacco, dip, snuff, and betel quid. At least 28 chemicals in these products have been found to cause cancer, including:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

Betel quid is a combination of betel leaf, areca nut, and slaked lime. In many countries, tobacco is added, and the product is known as gutka, ghutka, or gutkha. Like other smokeless tobacco products, betel quid and gutka are known to cause:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lip cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Pharynx cancer
  • Tongue cancer

Can smokeless tobacco use cause problems in other parts of the body?

Recent research shows that it might also cause problems beyond the mouth. Scientists are looking at the possibility that using smokeless tobacco might play a role in causing heart disease and stroke.

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