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Preventative Dentistry

Quitting Chewing Tobacco

Chewing tobacco affects your dental health as well as the rest of your body. If you use smokeless tobacco and have thought about quitting, we can help.

How do you kick the habit?

We can help you kick your chewing tobacco habit. In addition to cleaning teeth and treating bad breath and puffy, swollen gums associated with tobacco use, we may decide to prescribe a variety of nicotine replacement therapies, such as the transdermal nicotine patch or chewing gum that helps to wean addicted snuff dippers or tobacco chewers.

Nicotine patches are worn for 24 hours over several weeks, supplying a steady flow of nicotine. Four of the major brands of patches are Habitrol, Nicoderm, Nicotrol and Prostep. Over the course of treatment the amount of nicotine in the patch decreases. The nicotine patch has a 25 percent success rate. Or you may try nicotine gum therapy on your quit day. One piece of gum is slowly chewed every 1-2 hours. Each piece should be discarded after 20-30 minutes.

Make the following goals to quit and never resume chewing or dipping:

  • Pick a date and taper use as the date nears. Instead of using spit tobacco, carry substitutes like gum, hard candy and sunflower seeds.
  • Cut back on when and where you dip and chew. Let friends and family know that you’re quitting and solicit their support. If they dip and chew, ask them not to do it around you.
  • Make a list of three situations you’re most likely to dip and chew, and make every effort to avoid using tobacco at those times.
  • Switch to a lower nicotine brand to help cut down your dose.

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