Smokeless tobacco. The kind you chew on and spit juice from as you carry on your day. It’s not something I’ve ever been drawn to, but an estimated 8 million people in the United States and about 350, 000 individuals in Canada do regularly have it in their mouths.
So, this may be worth noting. Aside from cancer risks, chewing tobacco has now also been associated with a greater chance of developing infections in your mouth, and causing trouble with your heart.
“Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a new paper,” states a summary on sciencedaily.com.
“Some species have been identified as causative agents in spice-related outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting,” said coauthor Steven Foley, PhD, a research microbiologist at the National Center for Toxicological Research with the US Food and Drug Administration. “Additionally, they produce a mild toxin which, in large quantities could cause illness,” he added.
According to the paper, people who use smokeless tobacco often have problems like gingivitis and other oral health issues due to using chewing tobacco. The trouble is, having gum disease (gingivitis) allows the bad bacteria to enter into the bloodstream.
The bacteria does this and then travels down to the heart. There, it can cause heart valve infection.
Scary stuff. The bacteria can also cause inflammation of the lungs, among other problems.
The authors of the study say they did the work in order to have a better grasp on the microbiological risks associated with the use of smokeless tobacco products, and also to create a thorough risk profile for the products.
Smoking is on the decline in the U.S but according to reports, the use of chewing tobacco is on the rise.