Nicotine gum may stick to and damage dentures and other dental work, such as partial bridges and dental caps. However, some research says it may help reduce nicotine stains on the teeth.

Over 3 in 5 adults in the United States who have ever smoked have gone on to quit. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), research suggests NRT can nearly double a person’s chance of quitting smoking by reducing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Other types of NRT include products such as nicotine patches and lozenges.

This article explores how nicotine gum affects teeth and oral health and provides tips for using nicotine gum. It also discusses when someone should speak with a doctor.

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Nicotine is a habit-forming substance present in tobacco products. When a person smokes, their body gets used to the nicotine. This causes the withdrawal symptoms and cravings a person may experience when they quit smoking.

Nicotine gum is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and classified as a smoking cessation aid. It supplies the body with nicotine to help decrease any withdrawal symptoms and serves as a substitute that reduces a person’s urge to smoke.

A person uses it by chewing it in their mouth, like ordinary chewing gum. They only need to chew it slowly until they feel a slight tingle in the mouth or a peppery taste.

Then they tuck, or park, it between their cheek and gum. Once the taste fades or the tingling subsides, they may chew it again and repeat the process for about 30 minutes.

However, many people misuse it and chew it like regular gum.

According to the ACS, nicotine gums are typically sugar-free, but some people, such as individuals with diabetes, should check this with the manufacturer if they are unsure.

Improper use of nicotine gum, such as chewing too fast, continuously using one piece after another, or using more than 24 pieces daily, may lead to side effects, including:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other side effects of using nicotine gum may include:

  • jaw or mouth soreness
  • stomach discomfort
  • too much saliva
  • lightheadedness
  • throat and mouth irritation

Nicotine gum may also stick to and damage dentures and other dental work, such as partial bridges and dental caps.

However, some research suggests that nicotine gums help reduce nicotine stains on teeth, even reducing more stains than whitening gums in some cases.

People can speak with a healthcare professional about using nicotine gum safely and report any side effects they experience.

A person can buy nicotine gum without a prescription, but starting on the correct dose is crucial. It comes in two strengths: 2 and 4 milligrams (mg). A person who fits the descriptions below may consider beginning with a 4 mg gum:

  • smokes 25 or more cigarettes daily
  • smokes within 30 minutes of waking
  • finds it difficult not to smoke in restricted areas

Here are some tips on how to use nicotine gum:

  • Do not eat or drink 15 minutes before or during nicotine gum use, as this may interfere with the gum working.
  • Use one piece of gum every 1–2 hours during the first 6 weeks on an as-needed schedule. It is best to take a piece of gum before a craving occurs.
  • Repeat the chew and park process until the tingling stops, which typically lasts 30 minutes.
  • Do not chew more than 24 pieces of gum in a day.
  • After 6 weeks of use, reduce the amount of gum to one piece every 2–4 hours and then one piece every 4–8 hours.
  • Doctors usually recommend nicotine gum for 6–12 weeks for a maximum of 6 months.
  • A person who uses a nicotine patch with the gum may not need to use the gum as frequently.

Learn about the effects of quitting smoking.

Tips for maintaining oral health

Compared with nonsmokers, people who smoke have twice the risk of developing gum disease, which healthcare professionals refer to as periodontitis. The following habits may help improve oral health and prevent gum disease:

Learn more about looking after teeth and gums.

Healthcare professionals can provide advice and information about quitting smoking, NRT, and oral hygiene.

For example, they may help a person identify the ideal smoking cessation aids on an individual basis. This may be particularly helpful if they have any health conditions or are taking medications that may interact with smoking cessation aids.

People should make sure to report any side effects they experience when using nicotine gum to their doctor, who may be able to offer advice about using gum correctly or recommend alternative NRT to try.

Smokers are also prone to tooth and gum issues, so they should make sure to visit a dentist for checkups and any necessary treatment.

Nicotine gum is a type of NRT and smoking cessation aid. It is typically sugar-free, and some research suggests it may help whiten teeth. However, prolonged or improper use of nicotine gum may lead to side effects such as mouth and jaw discomfort.

Therefore, people should ensure to use the gum as instructed and consult a healthcare professional if they experience any side effects. A person can also speak with a healthcare professional for more advice about oral hygiene and quitting smoking.