Tobacco is usually smoked, but many people still chew it instead. When tobacco is chewed, the nicotine is absorbed through the tissue of the mouth rather than through the lungs. Many people still believe that this method is safer than smoking. Unfortunately, chewing tobacco is still incredibly harmful to your health, and it can be particularly damaging to your mouth.

Here are just four oral-health issues that come along with chewing tobacco.

1. Chewing Tobacco Causes Oral Cancer

Even though you're not subjecting your lungs to smoke, chewing tobacco can still cause cancer. Research has demonstrated that chewing tobacco, often referred to as "smokeless tobacco," contains at least 28 chemicals that have been known to cause cancer. Oral cancer is particularly common since those chemicals will be retained in the mouth, so tumours can occur across the cheeks, gums, lips and tongue. Chewing tobacco also increases the risk of oesophageal cancer.

2. Chewing Tobacco Creates Decay

Nearly everyone knows that sugar is bad for teeth, but fewer people understand just how much sugar is in chewing tobacco. One study found that an average of 34% of the weight of chewing tobacco is a variety of simple sugar. When you chew it, you'll be inundating your mouth with sugary liquids. That sugar forms an acid that will eat away at your tooth enamel.

3. Chewing Tobacco Discolours Teeth

Though only a cosmetic concern, stained teeth can still be a big problem. You can become self-conscious about your smile or feel pressured into spending money on tooth-whitening treatments. As you might expect, tobacco chewing can greatly increase staining. The harsh compounds found in the tobacco can easily find their way into the enamel of your teeth, creating an unpleasant brown hue as a result.

4. Chewing Tobacco Causes Leucoplakia

Oral cancer is the worst-case scenario when it comes to the effect of chewing tobacco on your overall health, but you can also develop precancerous lesions known as leucoplakia. These small white patches can occur in the mouth, and they will be most common at the place you hold the tobacco. These patches are often harmless, but they are unsightly and can become cancerous in the future.

Chewing tobacco is no safer than smoking it, especially when it comes to your oral health, so you should definitely try to kick the habit. If you find that you cannot, at least visit the dentist regularly to let them check for signs of decay or cancer.