Health Risks of Nicotine Gum
Nicotine gum is a popular way for people to stop smoking. But like cigarettes, it can have adverse dental side effects, including cavities and gum disease.
Nicotine gum is intended to be chewed slowly until it has a peppery taste and a tingling sensation, then “parked” (or stored) between the cheek and gums. This prevents nicotine from reaching the stomach, which can cause acid reflux and other gastrointestinal problems.
Nicotine gum can cause some side effects if used for a long time. These include mouth or throat irritation, bad aftertaste, hiccups, racing heartbeat and nausea. It can also interact with some medications and increase the risk of addiction. People under the age of 18 should consult a doctor before using nicotine gum.
The user controls the dosage by chewing the gum until they taste or feel a slight tingle in their mouth. They then tuck it, or park it, between their cheek and gum. This allows the majority of the nicotine to be absorbed into the body.
The action of chewing can cause tooth decay and dislodge or damage dental work like fillings, crowns and partial bridges. It can also worsen TMJ and other oral conditions.
Nicotine gum delivers a small dose of nicotine that isn’t as harmful to the body as cigarette smoke. But the drug still causes jaw pain in many chronic users who chew it day after day.
It also puts strain on blood vessels and raises blood pressure, which can increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In the case of a nicotine lozenge, that strain may even cause a dental restoration to crack or break, says Hurt.
To avoid this, try to use nicotine gum in moderation. To minimize the impact on your teeth, chew it only when you need relief from a craving and “park” it between your cheek and gums (or another surface) to let the nicotine absorb into your mouth. Avoid drinking acidic drinks such as coffee, juices and soda pop while using it because the acids interfere with the absorption of nicotine.
Nicotine gums may cause mouth irritation, particularly when chewed frequently or for a prolonged period of time. Moreover, they restrict saliva flow which can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease and increase the risk of tooth decay.
Lucchesi advises her patients to chew gum slowly and then tuck it between the cheek and gum. This ensures the mucous membrane of the mouth absorbs the nicotine directly rather than delivering it to the stomach. She also instructs them to eat and drink only afterward, to avoid acidic substances that change the pH of the saliva and interfere with absorption.
Moreover, the patient should avoid taking any medication like antidepressants and blood thinners while using gum. This is because these medications can interact with nicotine and result in severe adverse reactions.
Damage to dentures
Like cigarette smoking, nicotine gum can damage dentures and other dental work. It sticks to and irritates dentures, and can even cause oral sores. The gum also puts people at a higher risk of loosening a dental crown, removing a dental filling or popping out a partial bridge.
Nicotine gum is not recommended for anyone with high blood pressure. It can increase blood pressure and is especially dangerous for people with uncontrolled heart disease, ulcers or other conditions that affect the arteries. It can also impact a person’s ability to chew food properly, making it difficult to eat and drink. It is important to stop smoking and using nicotine gum as soon as possible for your overall health. Smoking and nicotine gum both accelerate bone loss, which leads to ill-fitting dentures over time.
Nicotine gum is absorbed into the body at a slower rate than that of tobacco or e-cigarettes, and it does not contain the cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes. It can increase blood pressure but is not considered dangerous to health in the short term. It is also safe for use in pregnancy.
Laboratory experiments have shown that nicotine can cause mutations in the FOXM1 gene and promote the growth of cancerous cells, but these findings cannot be treated as proof that nicotine increases cancer risk. It is important to keep in mind that laboratory tests often report that a chemical increases or decreases cancer risks, only to be contradicted by larger studies of real people.
In addition, people who chew nicotine gum too long can experience stomach discomfort and bloating. If you are taking any medications, including antidepressants or blood thinners, be sure to talk to your doctor about these side effects before using nicotine gum.