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Dr. Gerald Regni Jr & Associates

Philadelphia Dentist Urges Baseball Players to Stop Chewing Tobacco

By Gerald Regni, DMD on June 11, 2014

Baseball players have been chewing and spitting smokeless tobacco (also called spit tobacco) since the mid-1800s. Now, an anti-tobacco advocate wants that practice stopped.

national split tobacco education program

Early in June, 2014, Chicago-based nonprofit organization Oral Health America announced its annual slogan contest as part of the National Spit Tobacco Program. Open to players aged 10 to 14, the contest calls for a creative ten-word slogan describing the dangers of spit tobacco. The winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport and a $500 cash reward.

Every dentist in Philadelphia shares the same sentiment as Little League president Stephen Keener's statement below:

“Little League always has and always will have the utmost concern for the health and wellbeing of all children”
Still Tobacco

Much like cigarettes, spit tobacco stayed despite life-threatening risk. At one point in baseball history, chewing tobacco was a "requirement" to further one's career.

Regardless of form, however, cigarettes and spit tobacco aren't any different. Both still contain the sticky stuff that can cause all sorts of havoc on your body, your teeth making first contact. Statistics show that kids chewed tobacco as much as adults, with more than a third becoming regular users.

Experts also say that neither is any safer than the other. In fact, when the tobacco habit shifted to cigarettes later in history, they thought they were safe. Eventually, players returned to spit tobacco in the 1970s after realizing the dangers of cigarettes. Since then, advocates have been proactive in stopping the centuries-old habit.

Beyond Black Teeth

The effects of spit tobacco and cigarettes on teeth are also similar: teeth discoloration, risk of cavities, bad breath, and so on. Spit tobacco also contains several known carcinogens, the triggers for cancer affecting the mouth, throat, and pancreas. Symptoms alluding to possible cancer include white, scaly lesions called leukoplakia.

If you chew tobacco, whether you’re a kid or an adult, it’s time to stop the habit and visit a reputable dentist in Philadelphia such as Gerald Regni, DMD. If the similarities between spit tobacco and cigarettes are to be believed, the withdrawal effects will also be similar. You can facilitate the withdrawal via proper oral hygiene and regular dental treatment.

(Source: "National Spit Tobacco Education Program and Little League Baseball aim to educate youth about spit tobacco," Dentistry IQ, June 6, 2014)

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