The epidemic of tobacco use is one of the greatest threats to today’s global health. Approximately one-third of the adult population in the world use tobacco in some form and half of them die prematurely. The nicotine found in substantial amounts in tobacco products is widely considered to be a powerfully addicting drug. It’s rapid absorption through the oral mucosa makes it more susceptible to bad oral conditions ranging from the simple hypersensitivity of tooth to malignancy or cancer.
However the silver lining in this dark cloud is that it is one of the most important preventable causes of addiction, sickness and mortality in the world.
Ayurveda emphasised the practice of dhoomapana (medicated smoking ) & Tamboola sevana ( betel leaf chewing along with camphor, nutmeg, clove, lime and arecanut) to alleviate and prevent the diseases of the mouth. Gradually tobacco took over and this habit has become a problem of human health and behaviour. Tobacco is being used in different forms like cigraretts, gutkas, chewing pans, inhalors etc
Ayurveda tips to quit smoking
- If you feel like smoking, take some ajwain with lemon drops and gulp it.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar during the initial phase of quitting as it increases nicotine craving.
- Since smoking increases the metabolic rate, quitting will cause it to dip a little. At such times, you should avoid fatty foods and instead snack on low-fat foods like apples, carrots, and cucumbers.
- Eat a diet centered on milk, ghee, fresh foods and veggies.
- Eat a sattvic diet of fresh and lightly cooked foods, avoiding all processed and preserved foods.
- It is important to surround yourself with the right people when you decide to quit smoking.
- Pick up a hobby to keep your mind away from the urge to smoke.
ORAL AND DENTAL PROBLEMS DUE TO TOBACCO USE
A wide variety of oral mucosal and dental changes have been noted in habitual users of smoked and smokeless tobacco. These changes most likely result from the many irritants, toxins, and carcinogens found naturally in tobacco leaves.
Abrasion: It is generalized wear of tooth surfaces produced by sand and other gritty materials in tobacco.
Erosion: It is the chemical dissolution of enamel.
Gingival recession and periodontitis: Constant use of tobacco weakens the gums causing gum recession. Periodontial tissue is the one which sockets the tooth. Tobacco addiction destructs this periodontial tissue, leading to loss of teeth.
Caries (Tooth decay): Carious destruction is seen more frequently in smokeless tobacco users than in smokers.
Tooth stains: Yellowish-brown to black deposits occur in the tooth as a result of the collection of tobacco and and resins.
Hypersensitivity: It is the discomfort in tooth after eating cold or hot foods or liquids or even breathing cold air. This problem often happens when gums recede and/or cementum is not present or when there is erosion of enamel.
The gum tissue acts like a protective blanket to cover the roots of the teeth. As the gums recede the underlying tooth roots are exposed. They are not covered by hard enamel. Thousands of tiny dentinal tubules (channels) leading to the tooth’s center (pulp) are exposed. These tubules allow more stimuli like heat, cold or pressure to reach the nerve in the tooth and you feel the pain or hypersensitivity.
Halitosis (Malodor): Both smoked and smokeless tobacco usage produce unpleasant breath odors or “bad breath”
Oral submucous fibrosis: A condition in which the person is unable to open the mouth completely due to the fibrous bands in the oral cavity.
Leukoplakia and Oral cancers: Prolonged use of tobacco leads to the formation of whitish ore, cancerous lesions in the oral cavity known as leukoplakia which further leads to the causation of oral cancer.
Treatment plan in Ayurveda
- Nidana parivarjana : Avoidance of the cause is given the formost importance in the management of any of the disease in Ayurveda.
As the oral and dental diseases caused due to Tobacco addiction is dealt here, prime importance should be given for its withdrawal. Withdrawal should be gradual as there will be craving for nicotine in blood.
- Satvavajaya chikitsa (counselling): Couselling is given to the patients by educating the patients regarding the ill effects of tobacco usage and the successful methods to be adopted for its gradual withdrawal.
- Mukha dharana vati : Medicated lozenges are given to the patients which not only helps to reduce the disease conditions in the oral cavity but also addresses the behavioural aspect of tobacco chewing like keeping the quid in the oral cavity. Most commonly used lozengels are Khadiradi vati, Bhadra mustadi vati, Eladi vati, Lavangadi vati etc
- Pratisarana : It is the appliication or rubbing the medicines into the dental and the oral cavity.
Triphala choorna. Yashtimadhu choorna, Kalaka choorna, Peetaka choorna or Simple honey and ghee can be used.
- Kavala and Gandusha: (Kavala means gargling and Gandusha is holding mouthful of medicine or oil in the mouth for a specific time). Some of the commoly used medicines are Triphala kashaya, Dashamoola kashaya and taila,Panchavalkala kashaya, Ksheerivriksha twak kashaya, Yashtimadhu kashaya, Til oil, Arimedadi taila, Nimba taila, Jatyadi taila.