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Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1983 Sep;56(3):275-84.

Oral tissue alterations associated with the use of smokeless tobacco by teen-agers. Part I. Clinical findings.


The use of smokeless tobacco appears to be finding its way onto middle school, high school and college campuses as a socially acceptable and popular habit. Numerous reports in the literature have described the oral changes that appear to be associated with the use of smokeless tobacco in adults. Such information is unavailable for the lower age groups. A study was therefore undertaken to determine the prevalence and frequency of oral hard- and soft-tissue alterations associated with the use of smokeless tobacco in a teen-age population. High school students in grades 9 to 12 were evaluated on a random basis. From a total sample of 1,119 students, 117 users of smokeless tobacco were identified. Four distinct lesions associated with smokeless tobacco use were identified clinically: (1) hyperkeratotic or erythroplakic lesions of the oral mucosa, (2) gingival or periodontal inflammation, (3) a combination of oral mucosal lesions and periodontal inflammation, and (4) cervical erosion of the teeth. Among the smokeless tobacco users, 113 were boys and 4 were girls. Fifty-seven (48.7 percent) of the users had soft-tissue lesions and/or periodontal inflammation or erosion of dental hard tissues. Ninety-nine of the 117 users were Caucasian, 6 were Hispanic, 1 was black, 1 was Asian, 1 was an American Indian, and 6 failed to identify an ethnic origin. Use ranged from one to twenty "dips" per day, with an average time per dip of 30 minutes. Most users had been dipping for an average of 2 years, and twelve different tobacco brands were identified.

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