It’s no secret that the chemicals in cigarette smoke are the root of all preventable diseases it brings. Cigarette smoke contains (among many others) arsenic, aldehydes, and cadmium (used in batteries).
Many people assume nicotine to be dangerous due to its close connection to cigarettes. However, nicotine is relatively harmless for most people – its ‘danger’ in this context is that it keeps you coming back to the deadly carcinogens and chemicals in each cigarette.
However, it is not recommended for pregnant women or anyone with heart conditions and adrenaline-related ailments, as it raises your heart rate and adrenaline levels temporarily.
Nicotine’s relative harmlessness is why it’s a crucial part of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of nicotine patches and gums to wean you off smoking.
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So, can chewing nicotine gum be harmful to your health? Let’s dive into this below.
What are the side effects of Nicotine gum on your teeth?
The good news is nicotine gum will not cause problems with your teeth. Most manufacturers make them without sugar – the biggest cause of cavities.
Chewing nicotine gum won’t harm your teeth, mouth, throat, and other parts of your body, but you might feel that nicotine gum tastes and feels a bit different than your typical grocery favourites.
Mentioned in most instruction panels included with this NRT tool is the right way to chew the gum. A smoker must chew it thoroughly until they taste something peppery or feel a tingling sensation inside the mouth. Once this happens, they should tuck the gum between their cheek and teeth (the gum is safe for both).
It is only when the taste or tingling subsides that they should repeat the process.
Chewing too fast is often the major cause of many minor side effects, such as hiccups, nausea, heartburn, and lightheadedness.
Can nicotine gum cause stomach problems?
Yes it can, but the gum won’t cause any stomach problems if you have the proper dose and use the gum as intended.
If used properly, your nicotine gum can satiate your cravings once you feel enormous withdrawal symptoms during your smoking cessation journey. However, if you treat it like regular flavoured gum, you’ll probably feel your stomach churn at some point.
Enormous amounts of nicotine can induce stomach motility, so if you’re asking, “Can nicotine gum cause diarrhoea?”, it definitely can if you keep on chewing on it like any old gum.
In some cases, too much nicotine – even from an improperly consumed nicotine gum – could cause you heartburn or even have you throw up.
Fortunately, this uncomfortable side effect is only temporary as your nicotine levels drop throughout the day and won’t cause any long-term problems – remember, nicotine is quite harmless.
Can nicotine gum cause heart palpitations?
Yes, it can, but only temporarily.
One known side effect of high nicotine consumption is the temporary increase in heart rate. Nicotine temporarily constricts your blood vessels, which causes the heart to work harder.
A study has shown that nicotine consumption – even small doses – can cause a non-permanent rise from 10 to 15 BPM. Still, don’t be scared of using your nicotine gum, especially if you don’t have any underlying heart conditions.
If you’re uncomfortable with how your heart feels when using the gum, your nicotine dosage might be too high for you – and that’s something a friendly GP overseeing your smoking cessation programme can help you with.
Can chewing nicotine gum cause cancer?
No, nicotine gum will not cause or advance cancer.
Some people mistakenly believe that the nicotine content of cigarettes causes cancer. However, it’s the other chemicals in cigarette smoke that cause this – not nicotine.
Once again, nicotine is relatively benign if consumed by itself in small doses prescribed by your GP in the form of a nicotine gum.
Moreover, you’ll only be consuming nicotine gums until your initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided (which often takes just a few weeks to a month). By then, your GP will provide the next steps to help you keep off smoking for good without the help of further NRT use.
Can you use nicotine gum while pregnant?
Any nicotine use while pregnant is not advised. However, even pregnant mothers can find it difficult to stop smoking – and having a tool that reduces harm to both themselves and their unborn child is better than the alternative of continued smoking.
While abstinence is the best solution, some GPs may find nicotine gum to be suitable for pregnant mothers, but only after many considerations. A health professional will always keep in mind harm reduction.
For instance, a GP might prescribe it to a pregnant mother who simply cannot stop smoking to ensure they’re exposing themselves and their child to less danger.
The same applies for other forms of nicotine delivery, such as patches – read more about this here.
Can you overdose on nicotine gum?
Yes, it is possible, but very rarely does it happen with a GP’s oversight and if you read and follow the instructions.
Even if you don’t follow the instructions and treat nicotine gum like regular gum, you may only feel the temporary discomforts mentioned above.
It’s important to see nicotine gum as similar to over-the-counter medication – for instance, ingesting a large dose of cough syrup every day would be extremely dangerous to your health.
In this case, simultaneously consuming multiple high-dose nicotine gums beyond your GP’s prescription and recommended intake can result in nicotine poisoning.
So, the wisest thing to do is to follow your GP’s recommended nicotine gum intake and frequency and read the back instruction panel to use your nicotine gum as safely as possible to wean off withdrawals and stop smoking for good.
Nicotine Gum: Is it Worth the Investment?
We can confidently say that nicotine gum is worth the investment if you’d like to stop smoking for good.
It’s normal to feel some of the minor side effects mentioned here if it’s your first time going through NRT. Also, you’ll want to go through a GP’s smoking cessation programme to learn the right nicotine dose your gum should have and use it wisely to stop smoking for good.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to friendly Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.