There is a variety of tobacco products available to consumers around the world. While advertisements often encourage people to quit smoking and proclaim the evils of cigarettes, chewing tobacco is commonly overlooked. What is this product and is it dangerous to a person's teeth?

What Is Chewing Tobacco?

Chewing tobacco is referred to by a few different names, including smokeless tobacco and dip. It comes into two varieties. It can be obtained as loose leaves of tobacco or as a powder in a packet. Some people quitting cigarettes turn to chewing tobacco to help them because it is a pure form of what is found in cigarettes without any additives. 


Tobacco plants are treated and then dried before being sold to consumers. This curing process turns the leaves a dark brown color. When it is chewed, the dark brown color begins to stain the teeth. It leaves behind a light yellow shade that darkens over the years. The intensity of the color stains depends on how long the person has been chewing tobacco and how often they indulge in this habit. Brushing the teeth will not remove this stain. A professional may need to be consulted to remove the color.

Destruction Of The Teeth

Chewing tobacco doesn't just stain the teeth. It can also lead to the complete destruction of the teeth. The leaves often contain fine grains of dirt and grit. These things grind against the teeth, wearing down the enamel coating. As the enamel is worn down, it leaves the teeth vulnerable to the rough edges of sand. These particles can lead to the erosion of the teeth.

When the enamel is weakened, the teeth lose an additional protection against bacteria. As bacteria settles against the teeth, it creates spots for cavities to begin to develop. Chewing tobacco then has the chance to eat away at the teeth and the delicate bones below the gums. This type of dental decay may lead to the necessity of extensive dental procedures.

Healing After Dental Procedures

Chewing tobacco may contribute to a person needing dental operations. The trouble with chewing tobacco is it will slow or even prevent healing after surgery. This could potentially mean the loss of teeth, more dental procedures or infection settling into the mouth and jaw.

Although it may seem like a safer alternative to cigarettes, chewing tobacco can cause total destruction of the mouth. Stained teeth, receding gums, cavities, and the decay of teeth are common woes for people who indulge in chewing tobacco. Speak with a dentist or orthodontist about the dangers of tobacco for more information.