Despite moves to change the situation it is still common to find nicotine in many brands of Indian toothpaste and tooth powder. A prohibition of this ingredient took force in 1940, but it has been ignored by many manufactures. The addition of nicotine to these products is to encourage brand loyalty because the individual wishes to enjoy the pleasant effects of this drug. This ingredient provides zero benefit in relation to dental care and so it can be viewed purely as a cynical marketing ploy.
A close look at the ingredients of Indian toothpaste has found that a tube of this product can contain as much as 16mg of tobacco – this would be the equivalent of a person smoking 8 cigarettes. There is no doubt that such an amount of nicotine is damaging to people’s health.
There are a number of dangers associated with nicotine in toothpaste including:
* It can cause people to develop a nicotine addiction.
* Nicotine is a carcinogen – this means that it causes cancer.
* Nicotine related illness is unacceptably high in India – 65% of cancers in men and 33% of cancers in women are nicotine related. At least some of the blame for this illness and death will be related to nicotine in dental products.
* It encourages people to use other nicotine products including cigarettes.
* It can cause oral inflammation.
* Some people will consume unhealthy levels of toothpaste in search of a high, and this can make them physically sick.
* Young people can be tempted to abuse these substances in search of a chemical high. Abusing toothpaste in this way can seem like harmless fun, but it involves serious dangers.
* It can encourage the person to experiment with harder drugs. It is common for young people to start off by trying to feel high using toothpaste, and this can lead them into lifelong addiction.
* In many instances the presence of nicotine is not even mentioned clearly on the toothpaste or tooth power packaging. This means that people may be becoming addicted without even realizing it.
* Nicotine in these products can cause tooth staining. This can then mean that the individual feels self conscious about their appearance – it could get in the way of them living a full life.
One of the real dangers of nicotine toothpaste and tooth powders is that they can act like a gateway drug. This refers to a situation where using one type of substance encourages the individual to experiment with other substances. The person might begin by abusing toothpaste for a nicotine high, but this leads them onto harder drugs. Abusing toothpaste can feel like a bit of harmless fun, especially to young people, but it can set up a pattern of behavior that the individual will copy for the rest of their life. Once the individual begins to use a substance to change the way they feel it becomes a habit.
The symptoms of nicotine addiction can include:
* The individual feel uncomfortable if they are not able to ingest nicotine.
* They can suffer withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using nicotine.
* The person feels the need to continue using nicotine products even though they know it is damaging their health.
* The individual will usually develop a tolerance for the drug – this means that over time they may need to use more of it to get the same effect.
* The person can feel resistant to any suggestion that they give up nicotine.
* They may feel guilty about this habit.
Nicotine is a toxin, and the body is forced to adapt to its presence in the blood stream. In fact the system is so effective at adapting that it initially reacts negatively when nicotine is removed. It is this attempt to readjust to the new conditions that accounts for nicotine withdrawal symptoms which can include:
* Intense cravings for more nicotine.
* A feeling of restlessness and irritability.
* The individual may find it difficult to get to sleep at night.
* Symptoms of depression.
* Feelings of anxiety.
* The person may find it difficult to concentrate on anything.
* They can be short tempered or feel as if they are on the edge of tears at the slightest provocation.
* Symptoms that are similar to influenza such as body aches and a feeling of heaviness.
The longer the individual remains addicted to nicotine the greater their risk of developing serious problems. Giving up this habit does involve a bit of mental fortitude but millions of people around the world have managed to do this successfully. In order to make the process easier the individual can:
* Make a clean break of it. This means just giving up completely and putting up with a few days of discomfort – the symptoms never get worse than a mild flu.
* People should set a firm date for stopping and stick to this – the best time to stop is right now.
* It can be helpful if people write down their reasons for why they want to stop and their aspirations for the future. The individual can reread this document whenever they feel their motivation waning.
* It is recommended that people make use of online resources, as these can offer plenty of useful tips.
* There are support groups for people who want to kick the nicotine habit – these include online communities as well as face to face meetings.
* It is recommended that people check all future toothpastes and other products to ensure that they do not contain nicotine.
* It can be a good idea for people to plan some type of reward for breaking the habit. This incentive will keep them committed, and they will have earned a reward for their hard work.
* Some people will be tempted to turn to food for solace while giving up nicotine. This can help in the short term, but it can also lead to unwanted weight gain.
* Giving something up is much harder than embracing something new. Rather than thinking about how they are giving up nicotine the individual should instead focus on how they are committing to a new improved way of living.
* Family and friends can be a good source of support. It is well worth getting them involved.
* There are usually certain times of the day that when the cravings will be stronger. It is recommended that the individual be aware of these times and be prepared for them.