The company Swedish Match has put in an application with the FDA to modify warnings on its smokeless tobacco products, snus. Snus are small, teabag like pouches that contain tobacco that users place between their teeth and cheek to absorb nicotine. But the FDA seems unlikely to grant it, because it says that studies showing reduced risk of gum disease and receding gums were flawed.

No Tobacco Product Is Safe

dreamstime_xs_49034877The language that Swedish Match wants to put on its packaging is “No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes.” The FDA thinks, though, that the language doesn’t reflect the true health risks of the tobacco.

For example, it notes that the studies don’t track oral cancer cases for people who quit using snus. It also notes that the product has been linked to pancreatic cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes in studies.

The application is the first of its kind to be reviewed by the FDA under a 2009 law that allows the FDA to evaluate and approve “safer” tobacco products. In total, the FDA has received 17 applications for supposedly safer products, but none of them have been approved.

No Gum Disease?

Smokeless tobacco and smoking contribute to receding gums, but Swedish Match claims that its product is not associated gum disease or tooth loss. However, when the FDA looked at the supporting data for this claim, it found that the studies were only made up of adolescents and young adults, who have a lower risk of gum disease and tooth loss, anyway. They also say that Swedish Match gives no reason why it’s “biologically plausible” that snus doesn’t affect the teeth and gums in a way similar to other smokeless tobacco.

However, the FDA is giving Swedish Match its day in court, so to speak. On April 9 and 10, the FDA will meet with outside advisors to determine whether snus really is safer.

The evidence of tobacco use is for many people written on their gums. If you developed receding gums as a result of using smokeless tobacco, we can help. Please call (310) 275-5325 in Beverly HIlls or (949) 551-5902 in Orange County to learn about gum rejuvenation options.