Protect Your Health

Protect Your Health

What To Know About Your Mouth Sores And Nicotine Replacement Gum

by Claire Ward

Choosing to quit smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. In order to quit successfully, you chose nicotine replacement gum to ease your stress and withdrawal symptoms. But if you develop mouth sores on your cheeks and gums from using your nicotine gum beyond the recommended 12 weeks, you need to see a dentist. The ulcers or mouth sores in your mouth have the potential to cause an infection. It could also indicate oral cancer. Until you do see a dental provider, learn how nicotine gum affects your mouth and what you can do to ease the discomfort temporarily.

How Does Nicotine Gum Work and What Happens If You Overuse It?

Stop-smoking gum doesn't contain chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and ammonia. However, it does contain up to 4 mg of nicotine, depending on the strength you use to quit smoking. In order to absorb the gum's nicotine content, you must chew the gum for a few minutes, then park or place it between your teeth and one of your cheeks for 20-30 minutes. During this time, the nicotine slowly passes through the soft tissues of your inner cheeks until it reaches your bloodstream.

Because the nicotine must penetrate your cheeks' tissue to do this, the gum's manufacturer generally instructs you to move the gum from one side of your mouth to the other every few minutes to keep the nicotine from irritating your mouth. After the recommended time passes, you discard the gum and wait two or three hours before using another piece.

If you follow the 12-week plan recommended on the gum's packaging, you shouldn't have long-term problems using the nicotine replacement gum. In most cases, temporary problems, such as dry mouth and gum irritation, only last for a few days and subside once your mouth gets used to the nicotine.  

However, since you used the gum past the recommended time, you developed mouth sores. The nicotine essentially created open sores on the delicate tissues of your inner cheeks and gums. The sores become infected from the bacteria inside your mouth. It's critical that you see a dental provider for an exam and treatment.

How Will the Dentist Treat Your Mouth Sores?

Before your dentist treats your mouth sores, he or she must make sure that the sores don't contain cancerous cells. Although you quit smoking, the chemicals in cigarettes can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it takes up to five years before your risk of getting oral cancer is reduced by half.

In order to rule out oral cancer, the dentist will do an oral cancer test, which includes taking cell samples of your mouth sores. If the test results come back positive, the dentist will discuss treatments, like oral surgery and radiation therapy, to help you get well.

But if you don't have mouth cancer, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic oral rinse to clear up your ulcers. Your dental provider may schedule a gum cleaning to heal your gums, as well as periodic visits to monitor your oral health.

What Can You Do Yourself to Help Your Mouth Feel Better?

If you don't have oral cancer, you can make your mouth feel better by using coconut oil at home. Coconut oil benefits your sore and infected mouth by killing the bacteria in the open sores on your gums and inner cheeks. 

A number of people oil pull with coconut oil for 15-20 minutes a day, but the technique might be too time-consuming and messy for you right now. Additionally, the swishing action used to oil-pull aggravates your tender gums and cheeks by forcing the liquid against them.

Instead, try this below:

  • Saturate a clean cotton ball with a teaspoon of coconut
  • Place the wet cotton ball in the areas with the open tissue
  • Leave the soaked cotton ball in your mouth for 5 minutes, then remove and discard it in the trash
  • Rinse your mouth with warm, bottled or filtered water to prevent adding outside bacteria to your opened gums and cheeks

Use the technique every night or right before bedtime for the best results. However, coconut oil isn't a substitute for seeing your dentist for care. Make sure to see your provider as scheduled to protect your health

If you have other concerns or questions about nicotine gum and oral sores, contact a local dental clinic, like Family Dental Care, to make an appointment. 


About Me

Protect Your Health

A few years ago, my father visited a dermatologist for the first time in his life. During this visit, he was diagnosed with several skin cancers. Thankfully, my dad’s dermatologist expertly removed these cancerous spots. If you’ve haven’t visited a dermatologist before, consider doing so sooner rather than later. Many forms of skin cancer are completely treatable if they’re detected early. Besides seeing a dermatologist, you should inspect your skin for any changes regularly. This is especially important if you have numerous moles on your body. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you protect your health. Enjoy!