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Also known as "snuff", "spit" or chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco is held in the mouth between the teeth and cheek. Users spit out a black, tarry substance that forms when the tobacco combines with saliva. It is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth making it more addictive than smoking cigarettes.
Users of chewing tobacco suffer permanent gum and bone loss, unlike users of smoking tobacco who usually recover the loss after quitting. Smokeless tobacco is associated with professional sports but has increased in popularity, particularly among teenagers.
It is easier to quit smoking than to stop using chewing tobacco, but new tools are available to make it easier to be nicotine-free.
|Before: 37-year-old heavy smoker with a heavy build up of dental calculus, stains, and severely offensive tobacco breath.|
|After: After quitting and a thorough cleaning, this smoker's teeth were restored to their original whiteness. Failure to remain tobacco-free will cause the staining to recur in weeks.|
Photos provided by Dr. Arden Christen, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Biology.