ZocdocAnswersWhat are the health risks involved with chewing tobacco?

Question

What are the health risks involved with chewing tobacco?

I use dip. Been using it for 5 years now (I'm 24). Other than mouth cancer, which it says it causes on the label, what are the health risks? I have a white patch on my lip where I put my dip in.

Answer

Dip (snuff, chewing tobacco) has several potential health risks associated with it. In particular, the most feared risk is the increased risk of cancer. Since the chemicals in the chewing tobacco wash around the mouth and also are swallowed down the esophagus into the stomach, the risk of mouth and esophageal cancer are elevated. Other risk of chewing tobacco use are related to the health of the teeth. Dipping all the time, in particular, can damage the gums and lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease, possibly even tooth loss over time. Another major risk is that the chewing tobacco contains nicotine, which can elevate the pulse and blood pressure, potentially contributing to a higher risk of heart disease later in life. The thing I am most worried about in your case is the white patch that you have noticed. Although sometimes white spots are benign, sometimes they also may be something called leukoplakia, which are a type of precancerous spot in the mouth. This definitely needs to be checked out as soon as possible by your primary care doctor or your dentist. It may need to be biopsied to rule out the possibility of a cancerous or precancerous spot.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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