Background: Betel nut and tobacco chewing is a common practice in south-east Asia. In India, betel nut is commonly chewed in the form of pan, with or without tobacco. Numerous studies have shown the carcinogenic potential of betel nut and tobacco. Betel nut and tobacco are also known to have deleterious effects on the oral tissues. Purpose: The aim of our study was to evaluate and compare the periodontal effects of pan chewing with or without the use of tobacco as an ingredient. Materials and Methods: The periodontal status of 300 subjects (150 subjects were pan chewers with tobacco and 150 subjects were pan chewers without tobacco) was evaluated using the community periodontal index (CPI). The subjects were selected by the stratified random sampling method. The oral hygiene status of the subjects was evaluated using the simplified oral hygiene index. Results: CPI code-4, with a probing depth of 6 mm or more, was seen in 30% of pan chewers with tobacco compared with 7.3% of pan chewers without tobacco. It was found that pan chewers with tobacco had 4.7 times more risk of having pockets than pan chewers without tobacco. The higher codes of loss of attachment were seen in pan chewers with tobacco compared with pan chewers without tobacco. It was found that pan chewers with tobacco had 7 times more risk of having loss of attachment when compared with the pan chewers without tobacco. Conclusions: The results show higher incidence of periodontal diseases in pan chewers who use tobacco compared with pan chewers who do not use tobacco. Based on the results, it was concluded that, although betel nut has deleterious effects on the periodontium, the addition of tobacco leads to a synergistic effect between betel nut and tobacco on the periodontal tissues.
Keywords: betel nut, pan, periodontal diseases, tobacco