A case report of oral nicotine-associated keratosis and a review of oral mucosal changes in tobacco and similar products


There is a strong association between tobacco use and the development of oral mucosal lesions, often with malignant potential. Nicotine is the primary component of tobacco responsible for addiction. The use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aims to replace nicotine from cigarettes, allowing smoother transition to complete smoking cessation and greatly reducing risks of tobacco-related disease. The role of nicotine as a potential carcinogen is unknown. Use of NRT is associated with development of oral disorders, although it is rarely published. We detail the development of oral hyperkeratotic lesions directly associated with chronic overuse of nicotine replacement products. We also consider the current state of knowledge regarding development of oral lesions associated with other similar products. It is important for dental practitioners to be aware of oral effects associated with recommended nicotine replacement products, especially when offering smoking cessation advice to patients. It is vital that dental practitioners are aware of other potential risk factors for development of potentially malignant oral disorders, in order to make timely referrals of suspected lesions for appropriate investigation and review.

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Correspondence to Jessie Tebbutt.

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Tebbutt, J., Khan, Z. & Ariyaratnam, R. A case report of oral nicotine-associated keratosis and a review of oral mucosal changes in tobacco and similar products. Br Dent J 228, 757–760 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1530-x

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