Baseball is one of American’s favorite pastimes, but there is an ugly side to baseball that we shouldn’t overlook: the use of smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco recently claimed the life of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. As a result, nine medical and public health organizations have called on the Major League Baseball to ban smokeless tobacco in ballparks and on camera. Smokeless tobacco can cause a host of dental health problems including oral cancer and gum disease. Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, would like to share these developing events.

Nine Major Health Groups Write Letter to MLB

The American Dental Association wrote the MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark and the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig the letter in response to the death of baseball legend Tony Gwynn. Tony Gwynn played for 20 years for the San Diego Padres. He believed his habit of dipping smokeless tobacco caused his case of salivary gland cancer that led to his death at age 54. The American Dental Association and other groups argued that smokeless tobacco can lead to various health problems for baseball players. In addition, children who look up to baseball players come to feel that smokeless tobacco is a good habit simply because their baseball idol uses it. Because of this, in 2011 the MLB and the Players Association implemented rules regarding where and when players can use smokeless tobacco. However, this summer on June 30th, the MLB Commissioner Mr. Selig said that although the MLB is attempting to rid baseball of smokeless tobacco, the MLB cannot completely ban it.

What are the Effects of Smokeless Tobacco?

According to the Mayo Clinic, smokeless tobacco products can lead to various types of oral cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips, and tongue. Smokeless tobacco products also cause an increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer and kidney cancer. White spots in the mouth called leukoplakia can originate from smokeless tobacco products. These lesions can later develop into cancer. Smokeless tobacco can also bring about gum disease because the sugar and other ingredients in it cause gums to recede from teeth. This is common in the spot where the tobacco is held in the mouth. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Similarly, the sugar content in smokeless tobacco products has also been known to cause cavities. Lastly, smokeless tobacco also leads to addiction because of the highly addictive ingredient of nicotine.

About Your Mansfield Dentists

Mansfield Dental Associates provides comprehensive dentistry in a professional, friendly environment. If you would like to learn more or to schedule a consultation, call (817) 473-6227. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris proudly treat patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian and neighboring areas.