Gutkha – a form of smokeless tobacco popular in India- is just spoiling health of this sub-continent. This is the photograph of a 28-year man who had come to me with the complaints of stained teeth and sensitive teeth –sensitivity to hot and cold.
This picture is a typical picture of oral cavity of Gutkha chewer. He has been chewing Gutkha for the last four years. Can you make a wild guess about the number of pouches he might be consuming daily? – it is beyond your imagination- he has been daily chewing fifteen pouches of Gutkha. He also smokes one packet of Bidi (Indigenous cigarettes… see the picture).. Inspite of so much indulgence in tobacco products his oral cavity was not showing any visible signs of tobacco-related oral lesions.
I told him quite frankly that this time you are lucky that inspite of so much tobacco insults, you appear to be quite alright. I told him not to worry but first he should quit this habit before getting treatment of his “stained” teeth. He promised that would leave it—let’s see ! Most of the times, this brain-washing definitely helps.
I told him that your mouth (oral cavity) is alright does not mean that everything is fine with your body. Oral cavity is the visible part, other inner parts can’t be seen with naked eye . Chewing tobacco and Beedi smoking plays havoc with user’s body. Can any reader draw an inference from the above lines that Gutkha, if chewed, for just four years is harmless. Not at all, it was just an isolated case ….. we see so many teenagers suffering from ravages of this notorious Gutkha. When there is a warning on the pouch itself, hardly there is any need to put our destiny to test !
Oral health personnel are at an advantageous position because persons using tobacco in any form visit their dentist even for unrelated dental complaint. Since the iron is hot at that time, it is so very much easy to hit at this habit because patient at that time is very receptive to whatever we are saying. Just a few minutes spent on counseling can help the tobacco user in getting convinced to kick this habit.