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  • Dr Vidya Varathan Dental Care

How Chewing Betel Nuts Can Affect Your Teeth

Betel nuts have a long history, especially in the South-East Asian and Pacific regions. Essentially the seed of a type of palm tree, chewing betel nut is found to give a temporary adrenaline boost. However, this comes with its associated dangers. Ranked fourth in the list of most psychoactive substances in the world (after caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine), it presents clear dangers to a person’s oral health and overall physical well-being. The World Health Organization and International Agency for Research on Cancer classified betel nut as a group 1 human carcinogen.

Here are a few points that demonstrate how betel nuts can affect your teeth:

  1. One of the distinctive features of betel nut is that it leaves a red or purple residue in the mouth. This coats the teeth and can lead to permanent discolouration.

  2. Classified as a carcinogen by the WHO, research has revealed a link between chewing betel nut and cancers of the mouth and esophagus.

  3. Continuous chewing of betel nut can lead to tooth decay and irritation in the gums.

  4. Betel nut users can also be in danger of contracting ‘Oral Submucous Fibrosis’, a terminal condition that causes stiffness and possibly complete loss of movement in the jaw.

  5. Usage of betel nut can also react with other drugs and cause toxic side-effects to certain medications.

Due to these reasons, the consumption of betel nut is not advisable.

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