Author(s): Awang MN
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Abstract Areca (betel) nuts are popularly used as chewing agents. The nuts are chewed as such or processed by roasting, sundrying, soaking or boiling prior to chewing. Various agents such as slaked lime, tobacco, betel leaves are often incorporated into the chew. The habits of betel chewing are closely associated with oral cancer and precancerous lesions. The literature is repleted with numerous works on carcinogenicity of areca nut. It was demonstrated that the incorporation of lime and tobacco to the nut increase the incidence of mucosal changes. Chewers of soaked or boiled nuts demonstrated lower incidence of mucosal changes than those chewers of raw, sundried or roasted nuts. Estimation of the active chemical constituents in the nuts namely arecoline and polyphenols following nut treatments by sundrying, roasting, soaking and boiling, revealed reduction in these chemical contents. Marked reductions were observed when the nuts were subjected to soaking and boiling. These reductions may explain for the different in the incidence of the mucosal changes among users of different processed nut varieties.
This article was published in Dent J Malays
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy