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from the Academy of General Dentistry

Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Spit Tobacco


Spit tobacco affects your dental health as well as the rest of your body. If you use spit (smokeless) tobacco and have thought about quitting, your dentist can help.  


Spit tobacco includes snuff, a finely ground version of processed tobacco, and chewing tobacco in the form of shredded or pressed bricks and cakes, called plugs, or rope-like strands called twists. Users "pinch" or "dip" tobacco and place a wad in their cheek or between their lower lip and gums.

  • Tobacco users who dip or chew 8 to 10 times a day may be receiving the nicotine equivalent of up to 60 cigarettes a day.
  • The risk of cancer of the cheek and gums may increase nearly 50-fold among long-term spit tobacco users.
  • Spit tobacco users have more root cavities. The tobacco eats away at gums, exposing tooth roots, which are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and creating a prime environment for cavity-causing bacteria to flourish.

Reviewed: January 2012