Are ZYN Pouches Bad for Your Gums Exploring the Effect of Nicopods on Oral Health 

It’s a well-known fact that smoking cigarettes comes with an increased risk of many oral health problems, but do the same dangers apply to other nicotine products? 

They don’t, at least not to the same extent, especially when it comes to smokeless tobacco products.

Nicotine pouches are a smoke and tobacco-free nicotine product offering a subtle, mess-free, and hands-free way to satisfy your nicotine needs, and ZYN is currently the most popular brand in the United States. 

While they may not be as harmful as cigarettes because there’s no combustion involved, nicotine pouches are not entirely risk-free. We’ll focus on the effect of ZYN pouches on oral health, tackling questions like:

  • Are ZYN pouches bad for your gums?
  • Does ZYN cause cavities?
  • Can ZYN cause gum cancer?

How ZYN Nicotine Pouches Work

Nicotine pouches, including ZYN, should be placed between the upper lip and gums. This allows them to deliver nicotine to you effectively as the gums contain a lot of blood vessels. The nicotine is absorbed through the mucosa, the thin lining inside of your mouth. Upon absorption, the nicotine travels through the bloodstream. If you swallow the saliva that builds up, some nicotine will also be absorbed through the digestive system.

Besides being effective, this method is convenient, letting you get your nicotine kick discreetly and without much effort, regardless of location.

In the table below, you can discover the typical timeline of nicotine pouches’ effects on the body upon administration:

0–5 minutesYour saliva wets the ZYN nicotine pouch, dissolving and activating the nicotine salt. Your mucous membrane starts absorbing the nicotine
5–10 minutesThe nicotine is fully activated and begins to circulate through your body. The feeling of craving is slowly diminishing. Your gums are starting to feel the characteristic tingle
10–20 minutesMost of the nicotine has ended up in the bloodstream at this point. Unless you take it out, the pouch keeps releasing the nicotine and flavor for another 20 minutes or more
30–40 minutesThe nicotine level in the blood is at its highest. You no longer feel the nicotine craving
2–3 hoursNicotine reaches its half-life, and its levels in the blood drop. The craving feeling starts coming back

You shouldn’t use nicotine pouches if you’re under 21, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have underlying health conditions.

Source: Elsa Olofsson

Does ZYN Damage the Gums?

As nicotine pouches are a relatively new product, there’s not enough research to make definitive conclusions about their long-term effects. We don’t know how detrimental they can be to the user’s oral or overall health in the long run.

Most sources agree that nicotine pouches can have a negative effect on oral health and eventually lead to periodontal disease, especially if they’re low-quality products. That’s why it’s crucial to choose top-notch manufacturers like ZYN. 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Side Effects

The following table displays the most common consequences of nicotine pouch consumption on oral health:

Short-TermLong-Term
Sore throat
Mouth irritation
Gum irritation
Dry mouth
Tooth decay and damage
Cavities
Bad breath
Gum recession
Mouth ulcers

The following sections will examine the potential effects of nicotine and nicotine pouches on gums as well as other aspects of oral health. 

Reduced Saliva Production

Some sources suggest nicotine can decrease the production of saliva, which is problematic since moisture is vital for oral health. Saliva washes away the bacteria and plaque from your teeth and mouth. When salivary flow is reduced, the bacteria and plaque may build up, increasing the risk of oral problems such as cavities and tooth decay.

Keep in mind that most studies have been done on individuals who smoke or vape, so the results may not apply to nicotine pouch users.

Periodontal Tissue Damage and Gum Recession

Earlier studies on smokeless tobacco have shown that lesions, gum recession, and periodontal attachment loss may occur in areas where the users hold the product in their mouths. Periodontal attachment refers to the connective tissue that holds your teeth in place. 

Due to the similarity of administration methods, nicotine pouches can have a similar effect on your gums as smokeless tobacco products.

One study hypothesizes that the main driving factor behind nicotine pouches’ detrimental effect on oral health is nicotine, which interacts with host cells and alters the user’s inflammatory response to microbes, such as bacteria and viruses. The same study suggests that nicotine can directly or indirectly lead to the decay of periodontal tissue, which supports your teeth. Still, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Influence on Cytokine Levels

When your body is dealing with bacteria and infection, such as periodontal disease, crucial players in this process are leukocytes, i.e., white blood cells, and cytokines, proteins responsible for cell signaling and initiating the immune response.

In multiple studies, nicotine was found to alter the levels of cytokines. But, some evidence suggests lower concentrations of nicotine may have an anti-inflammatory effect. Most researchers agree that nicotine may:

  • Enable the invasion and overgrowth of gum pathogens
  • Cause inflammation of the oral cavity
  • Lead to the worsening of periodontal disease

Cell Damage

Nicotine may have toxic effects on various cells of the body, which is known as cytotoxicity. The substance damages cells’ viability and modifies their nucleus, indicating cellular apoptosis, a.k.a. cell death. This weakens the gum tissue and makes it more prone to inflammation and infection.

One of the ways nicotine negatively affects cells is by causing vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of blood vessels. This reduces the blood flow and oxygen levels in tissues such as the gums. 

Keep in mind that this negative impact can be tied to the overuse of nicotine, so responsible consumption is essential to avoid adverse effects.

Does ZYN Cause Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the gums. It’s a mild form of gum disease, usually occurring at its earliest stages. Still, gingivitis can be painful, causing:

  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bleeding of gums

Like with other side effects, there’s no definitive evidence that indicates nicotine pouches like ZYN cause gingivitis. One study on snuff users showed that these individuals had a noticeably increased gingival index, the measure of gum inflammation. Other studies didn’t support such findings, though. It’s also important to note that snuff and nicotine pouches are different products, so the information may not be fully applicable.

  • Zyn Cool Mint Mini nicotine pouches

    Zyn Cool Mint Extra Strong

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  • Velo Max Arctic Frost nicotine pouches

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    $5.50
    Range Price
    10 - 19 $5.40
    20 - 29 $5.30
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ZYN’s Side Effects on Teeth

Considering a link was found between nicotine use and periodontal disease, the main culprit in tooth loss, it appears that nicotine pouches may affect the teeth. Here are the primary concerns:

  1. Dental erosion—Research on teenagers using smokeless tobacco indicates that nicotine can induce erosion of the teeth
  2. Plaque and bacteria build-up—Since nicotine can decrease the production of saliva that helps eliminate some of the bacteria, it may lead to problems such as cavities and tooth decay
  3. Pulpal inflammation—If the outer layer of teeth gets damaged, the pulp inside is exposed to bacteria, causing inflammation. One of the ways in which nicotine may contribute to this issue is by stimulating the production of enzymes that can break down gum tissue. If ignored, pulpal inflammation can spread to the surrounding bone and progress into pulp necrosis
  4. Attachment loss and bone degeneration—Research on tobacco chewers shows that these individuals experienced severe attachment loss and gum recession. In a few animal studies, nicotine was found to cause significant bone loss, most notably in the furcation area where the roots of teeth separate. It was also tied to the reduced ability to regenerate the alveolar bone, which is the part of the jaw that supports the teeth
  5. Teeth grinding—Nicotine is a stimulant, so it raises adrenaline levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. This may lead to involuntary jaw clenching and teeth grinding, causing wear and tear, pain, and headaches

Can ZYN Cause Cavities?

Users of nicotine products may be at some risk of developing dental caries. Since ZYN contains sweeteners rather than sugars, this risk should be low. 

Using ZYN When Having Gum Disease

When you place a nicotine pouch in your mouth, it rubs up against your gums, which can be problematic if you suffer from gum disease. The pouch can cause friction and further irritate your gums, worsening the inflammation.

Can ZYN Cause Oral Cancer?

Nicotine is not carcinogenic. Some experts say that nicotine pouch products may initiate or worsen oral conditions and lead to oral submucous fibrosis, a precancerous condition characterized by the rigidity of the mucosa and lips.

Such claims are based on the fact that nicotine pouches may contain other chemicals that can be cancer-causing. For example, one study from 2022 found that out of 44 analyzed nicotine pouch products, 26 had toxic chemicals, particularly tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), metals, and formaldehyde.

To reduce the risk of exposure to dangerous substances, it’s crucial to use tested products like ZYN that undergo strict quality control and adhere to all regulations on smokeless tobacco and non-tobacco nicotine products.

Is ZYN Better for You Than Vaping, Smoking, and Using Other Tobacco Products?

Products that contain tobacco, especially cigarettes, are notorious for causing a host of oral health issues. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 40% of adults who smoke have untreated tooth decay and about 43% of smokers over 65 have lost all their teeth. 

Tobacco use, in general, has been linked to various oral conditions, including:

  • Tooth abrasion and staining
  • Impaired taste and smell
  • Dry socket
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Precancerous lesions
  • Mouth, esophagus, lip, and other types of cancer

Since nicotine pouches don’t involve tobacco or combustion, they can be a safer alternative to cigarettes, vapes, and other products. Additional research is needed to corroborate this.

Nicotine pouches can deliver nicotine adequately enough to satiate cigarette cravings, reducing withdrawal symptoms and potentially helping the user kick the habit. One study from 2020 evaluated ZYN specifically (6 mg/g and 8 mg/g) and found that it delivers nicotine as quickly and in a similar concentration as snus and snuff without significant negative effects.

Despite that, nicotine pouches are still not an officially accepted form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the U.S. The FDA currently recommends the following nicotine-based treatments:

  1. Skin patches
  2. Chewing gum
  3. Lozenges
  4. Sprays
  5. Inhalers

Before taking ZYN as a standard tobacco product replacement, consult a healthcare professional and ask them whether nicotine pouches are a viable treatment for you and, if not, which other nicotine replacement methods you can use.

Source: RazorMax

Tips for Maintaining Your Oral Health While Using ZYN

If you use ZYN or any other brand of nicotine pouches, follow these tips to lower the risk of developing oral health problems:

  1. Limit your use—Overuse of nicotine pouches may increase your chances of developing side effects. You should consider your weight and previous nicotine habits and be mindful of your nicotine intake as the substance is addictive
  2. Find a suitable product—There are many different ZYN products. Make sure that the product you’re using has the strength, size, and material that works for you
  3. Maintain oral hygiene—Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least five times a week to prevent plaque and bacteria from accumulating
  4. Inspect your mouth—Check your mouth for lesions and other signs of oral disease using a mirror and a flashlight
  5. Visit your doctor or dentist regularly—Your doctor can help you detect any oral problems early on and deal with them effectively
  6. Place the pouch correctly —When tucking the ZYN pouch in your mouth, push it upward so it sits comfortably and doesn’t move. Doing so will ensure the pouch doesn’t move around and irritate your gums 
  7. Switch sides—Instead of placing the pouch in the same spot every time, change it up occasionally to avoid irritation
  8. Drink water—Make sure to drink enough water to keep your body and mouth hydrated 

Despite the potential risks, nicotine pouches can be a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products, especially if you use them properly, maintain good oral hygiene, and control your intake. It’s also important to use fresh, top-quality products like ZYN that contain food-grade ingredients and appropriate nicotine quantities. 

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Where To Get High-Quality Nicotine Pouches

SnusBoss is an online store where you can get EU-manufactured, top-of-the-line nicotine pouches. The selection of products is carefully crafted by industry experts and consists of 13 different brands:

  1. ZYN
  2. Velo
  3. Pablo
  4. Killa
  5. Hit
  6. Snatch
  7. Skruf
  8. Dope
  9. Kurwa
  10. Klint
  11. Thunder
  12. White Fox
  13. Kozmo

The EU nicotine pouches sold on SnusBoss are superior to most U.S. products, offering more moisture, flavor, and a stronger kick. They also come at an affordable price accessible to most users. ZYN offers many flavors, the most popular being:

  1. Citrus Mini
  2. Espressino Extra Strong
  3. Cool Mint Extra Strong

Whether you’re looking to restock your favorite nicotine pouches or discover new brands and aromas, SnusBoss is at your disposal. Make your order today and have it at your door within two to three days with express shipping.

Featured image source: Ali Kazal