Is There Still a Risk of Oral Cancer After Quitting Chewing Tobacco?

Once you become aware of the relationship between dipping and cancer, it’s not something you’re able to shake. From that point on, you realize what you’re doing to yourself each and every time you chew. And chances are, you’ve decided it’s time to make a change. Good on you!

But, you may still be worried about the risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco. Should you still fear the big C word even after you’ve kicked this nasty habit to the curb? While the damage is done to a certain extent, it’s true that your risk drops after you quit chewing tobacco. In this article, we’ll unpack this topic further to help you understand the true risk at stake.

Beyond that, we’ll provide you with some additional tips to help you quit dipping for good. With the help of Grinds nicotine & tobacco-free dip, it’s easier than ever to overcome a chewing addiction. With caffeine to help you conquer cravings and navigate the withdrawal period, you’ll look back and wish you’d made this lifestyle change sooner! 

Let’s get this conversation underway with a quick breakdown of the relationship between chewing tobacco and cancer.

The Relationship Between Oral Cancer and Chewing Tobacco

We recently wrote an article addressing a common question dippers-in-denial ask: just how bad is chewing tobacco really?  The answer: very bad. There is a relationship between chewing tobacco and stomach problems, and chewing tobacco affects your lungs too. On a less grim note, chewing tobacco can cause hair loss and nicotine causes acne as well.

But the real fear for dippers is in relation to cancer - specifically, cancers of the mouth. Oral cancer is a serious disease that can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and gums. It can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. That's why it's essential to understand the risks of using chewing tobacco and the importance of quitting if you're a regular user.

The link between chewing tobacco and oral cancer is well-established. According to the American Cancer Society, people who use smokeless tobacco are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don't use tobacco at all. The risk increases with the amount and duration of tobacco use.

What in chewing tobacco causes cancer, exactly?  The chemicals in chewing tobacco can cause changes in the DNA of your mouth cells, which can lead to the growth of cancerous tumors. The carcinogens in tobacco can also damage the tissues in your mouth and cause inflammation, which can increase your risk of developing cancer. 

At first, chewing tobacco leads to the production of leukoplakia - a small white patch in the mouth or throat that eventually leads to full-blown oral cancer in due time. By the time you see this telltale sign of cancer, it may be too late. If you haven’t noticed this yet, though, you would be well advised to stop now. But even still - is there still a risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco? 

Is There Still a Risk of Oral Cancer After Quitting Chewing Tobacco?

We don’t say this to scare you and leave you feeling hopeless - but yes, there is still a risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco. The longer you have been using tobacco and the more frequently you have used it, the higher your risk of developing oral cancer, even after quitting.

With that said, there is some good news - and an incentive to stop while you still can. Your risk does decrease over time. When you quit chewing tobacco, the cells in your mouth start to heal, and the inflammation caused by tobacco use begins to subside.

However, it can take years for the cells to fully regenerate and for the risk of oral cancer to decrease to a level similar to that of a non-tobacco user. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at how the risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco changes.

How Your Risk of Oral Cancer Changes After Quitting Chewing Tobacco

Research suggests that the risk of oral cancer begins to decrease after five years of quitting chewing tobacco. However, some studies have shown that the risk can remain elevated for up to 20 years after quitting.

It's important to note that the risk of oral cancer is not only related to tobacco use but also to other factors such as alcohol consumption, poor oral hygiene, and a family history of cancer. Therefore, it's essential to maintain good oral health habits, such as regular brushing and flossing, visiting your dentist for check-ups, and limiting alcohol consumption.

If you have quit chewing tobacco, it's crucial to monitor your oral health and to see your dentist regularly for check-ups. Your dentist can perform an oral cancer screening and detect any signs of abnormal cell growth early on, which can improve your chances of successful treatment.

The Sooner You Quit Chewing Tobacco, the Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer!

Now - discovering that you still have some level of risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco may leave you feeling stressed and hopeless. But we encourage you to read through the lines and leave with this key takeaway: the sooner you quit, the lower your risk of developing oral cancer will be!

Even if you just cut your risk down by a few percentage points, it’s worth it to quit now. This disease is not one you want to go to battle with. So - continue reading below as we offer a few suggestions on how to quit dipping once and for all to lower your risk of oral cancer.

Tips for Quitting Chewing Tobacco Today to Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer

If you're a regular user of chewing tobacco, it's crucial to understand the risks and take steps to quit. You probably already know that quitting can be challenging - maybe you’ve tried before and failed. Nevertheless, it's worth it for your health and well-being. Maybe you just didn’t take the right approach. Perhaps you simply weren’t fully aware of the health consequences of falling off the wagon.

Either way, we’re here to help you set out on the right foot with a few key tips for making your chewing tobacco habit a problem of the past. First things first - come up with a plan to quit.

Come Up With a Plan to Quit

Quitting dipping cold turkey is one way to go about it - and some have used this technique successfully. However, just deciding one day to call it quits rarely works out how you’d hoped. We recommend setting a quit date near the future and giving yourself a few days to prepare. 

You’ll have to grab yourself some supplies to help conquer cravings, and you’ll want to have a chance to talk with people in your life so they can hold you accountable. And by slowly weaning yourself off by lowering your intake daily, you can make the withdrawal process much more manageable.  

We recommend you also take the time to prepare by reading our article on the best way to quit chewing tobacco. We offer a much more detailed overview of the process while providing even more tips to set you up for success along the way.

Have Loved Ones Hold You Accountable

For so many of us, the fear of disappointing our loved ones is much greater than letting ourselves down. That’s why one of the best tips we can offer is to talk with a few of the most important people in your life and let them know you’re making a change for the better. Ask them to check in with you and hold you accountable. This will help you work just a little harder to stay on the right path. 

And as you’ll learn below, it’ll help those people in your life understand why you’re a bit more anxious/irritable and have lower energy in the days to follow…

Expect Withdrawal Symptoms

The reason most people fail to quit chewing tobacco is they give in the withdrawal symptoms. And this is understandable, as the chewing tobacco withdrawal symptoms can be ugly:

  • Cravings 
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of focus
  • Insomnia

These are just a few of the symptoms you can expect to feel along this journey. The good news? They don’t last forever. 

We recently wrote an article addressing how long nicotine stays in the bloodstream. Within a few weeks, you’ll be on the straight and narrow without any of these awful feelings. The first week or so is the hardest. And it gets easier from there - so you just have to push through.

But to really help you get through this painful process and prevent a relapse, you can set yourself up for success with tools to manage these cravings. For example, you can take melatonin before bed to overcome sleepless nights. You can practice meditation or get some exercise to deal with the irritability/anxiety. But most importantly, you’ll want a solid chewing alternative to help you manage the cravings that will come…

Get a Healthy Chewing Tobacco Alternative to Manage Cravings/Withdrawal Symptoms

When you first quit, your mind is going to play tricks on you and try to get you to feed it that nicotine it’s become so accustomed to getting throughout the day. The best way to battle these cravings is with Grinds caffeine pouches

These simulate the experience of dipping, offering a potent dose of natural caffeine instead of nicotine. This will help you deal with not just the craving to dip itself - but some of those withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, etc.

Along with helping you get conquer each day with high energy, you’ll love the flavors we have in store for you. Find basics like coffee or wintergreen, or more off-the-wall flavors to keep things fresh. People in your position have used Grinds to make nicotine addiction a thing of the past, and you can too. 

Reward Yourself for Milestones

Quitting chewing tobacco can be a challenge - and one that should be rewarded. You can incentivize yourself to stay on the right path with a reward system.

After your first week dip-free, buy yourself a nice dinner or something else you enjoy. Go on a vacation for your first month dip-free. For 6 months, maybe you treat yourself to something you’ve always wanted.

The possibilities are endless - but one thing is for sure. A reward system will help give you a reason to quit - as if avoiding oral cancer isn’t reason enough!

Final Thoughts on the Risk of Oral Cancer After Quitting Chewing Tobacco

It’s time to bring our conversation on the risk of oral cancer after quitting chewing tobacco to a close. As you can see, there is still a risk of developing mouth cancer even after you stop dipping. But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope or just continue the habit. Because the reality is, your risk does diminish the sooner you quit. And any sort of improvement to your chances of getting cancer is worth working towards.

Armed with the tips we provided above and the best dip alternatives at Grinds, you can start your journey to quitting chewing tobacco today to lower your risk of oral cancer!