Tobacco chewing is addictive because of both the nicotine high and the gratification derived from having something in your mouth and munching on it. A higher concentration of nicotine is found in smokeless products than in cigarettes. Chewing tobacco increases your heart rate and spikes your blood pressure, increasing your heart problems and circulatory diseases. In addition, the sugar in spit tobacco causes decay in teeth. Dr Payal Agarwal, Dental Surgeon- Periodontology, Implantology, Co-Founder- Healthspace Clinic, shares a way to help you get rid of tobacco chewing and improve your overall oral health - chewing on sugar-free mints and gum. 

Sugar-free chewing gums can be of two types:

  • The nicotine replacement gums like Nicotex and 
  • The non-nicotine containing chewing gums.
  1. The nicotine replacement gums allow low doses of nicotine to be absorbed in the blood in a sustained release fashion. It works by stimulating the effect of nicotine by binding to the nicotine receptors in the brain. This reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms which are some of the most complex side effects. Over time you need to reduce the frequency of popping the gum in, the number of gums a day and the dose of the gum itself. Eventually, these gums which contain nicotine need to be stopped completely. 
  2. However, at this point, switching to sugar-free gums without nicotine can provide a healthier option. It helps to satisfy the urge to keep the mouth muscles busy. They help in reducing the craving and curb the irritable feeling you feel when you stop chewing tobacco. Sugar-free gum is also beneficial for your oral health cavities in teeth are formed when bacteria in the mouth break down sugars to form acid. Since these gums are sugar-free, acid will not be created. Sugar-free gum stimulates saliva formation, thereby allowing sugars to be cleared rapidly from the mouth and help prevent cavities. In addition, these gums avoid bad breath and dry mouth syndromes.

Conclusion

Tobacco chewing is a problematic habit of quitting. When the cravings get tough, you will need your family and friends and many distractions to keep your mind off the tobacco packet. A simple thing is to always have sugar free mints within arms reach. This will go a long way for overall health and especially oral health.