What to do when you get sore gum from too much Swedish snus

Mon, Feb 11, 2019

When your lip and gum are sore from snus

This is something that every snus user have experienced sometime. Your lip and gum feel sore and the snus sting and your lip may become calloused and wrinkly. But there are ways to mitigate and heal your lip and gum. Here you can read about some of the reasons and what you can do to prevent it in the future.

Too hard and/or too dry snus

Your snus is too hard and/or too dry or not enough kneading. This can cause mechanical wear on your gum and lip. This is something I also can experience if I put too much snus in one pinch even if the snus is kneaded and soft. To fix this you have to add more water and knead it more. Add a little water at a time and do the squeeze test mentioned here. You get softer snus that adapts better to the shape of your lip and gum.

But then again, some people say too wet snus give them sore gum. So if dry snus gives you sore gum, add more water. But if your gum get sore from wet snus, follow the steps outlined in the kneading post.

Too much sodium carbonate in the snus

Snus has the best taste when the pH level is right. For Swedish snus the optimal pH level is between 8.0 to 8.5.

If you put too much sodium carbonate in the snus you get a too high pH level. Your mouth can cope with rather big fluctuations in the pH level before it burns your gum.

A starting point

As a starting point, I recommend using 80 gram (12 deciliter) sodium carbonate (2.8 ounces (1.69 fl oz)) to 1 kg tobacco flour (2.2 pounds). Then adjust from that level to get a snus that is sting-free for you.

The pH level in your water

The water you use when you make your Swedish snus also affects the pH level. If the water you use has a high pH level you don’t have to use as much sodium carbonate. Use a little bit less sodium carbonate the next time you make snus.

Individual tolerance

Some people are more sensitive for variations in the pH level and can get burn on the mucous membrane from a slight increase of the pH level. The pH level in the saliva also differs from person to person. If you have a low pH in your saliva you might tolerate a higher pH in the snus and vice versa. But when you get a burn, it stings as he…

How to adjust a high pH level

To adjust the pH level if your snus has a too high pH level you can use ascorbic acid. This is pure vitamin C and not harmful at all. This is something you can find in a regular food store. Add a couple of tea-spoons and mix thoroughly. Test and repeat if necessary.

You can also use citric acid or tartaric acid, but the ascorbic acid don’t give as much taste to the snus, something the citric acid can do.

Remember that storing and aging the snus often bring the pH level down. But if you are in a hurry you can use the methods above.

Too low pH

If you have a too low pH level in your snus, your snus is quickly aging and becomes rancid and rot away. Snus with a too low pH level become unusable already after a week or two.

The definition of pH

In chemistry, the pH is a logarithmic scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. It is approximately the negative of the base 10 logarithm of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions, measured in moles per liter.

More at Wikipedia

How to measure the pH level

If you don’t want to try and guess the pH level, you need a pH meter. There are a lot of pH meters to choose from, but a good quality digital meter is what people making Swedish snus at home often use.

Buy a digital pH meter at Amazon

Too much salt in the snus

Salt dries out your mucous membranes and makes the inside of your lip calloused and wrinkly. This is something dip users call a “gator lip”. As with sodium carbonate, this is individual, some people can tolerate high salt levels. If you are sensitive to salt, don’t use more than 120 gram per 1 kg tobacco (4.23 oz per 2.2 lb). Two-thirds of my original recipe on Swedish snus.

Make a test batch

You have to try what’s best for you. Make a batch and split it into two parts and put them in two roosting bags. In one, you put more salt but less sodium carbonate and in the other less salt but more sodium carbonate.

If you have snus with too much salt you can dilute it with a base snus with less salt.

What to do when your lip is on fire

Soak a paper tissue with 100% pure Aloe Vera and put under your sore lip a couple of times each day, or why not during the night? Before you know it your lip has healed as this is the main benefit of Aloe Vera, to heal the mucous membrane.

Olive oil has some of the same benefits as Aloe Vera and can be used in the same way. You have to try what’s the best cure for you.

What is Aloe Vera?

A succulent plant from the Arabian Peninsula. It is cultivated for agricultural, medicinal and decorative uses but grows wild in the tropics. It grows successfully indoors as a potted plant.

It is used in beverages, cosmetics, skin lotion and ointments for sunburns and minor burns. Some studies showing the positive effect while other contradict this claim. You just have to use it to find out what effect it has on you.

Aloe Vera flower inset

More at Wikipedia


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What is your experience of having a sore gum and lip from snus? Leave a comment and let me know.

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