No wonder everyone was reluctant to say the name. Betel nuts can be as scary as ghosts. It is a type of seed that originates from the areca palm, and is commonly consumed with dried leaves. Popular in India, South Pacific islands, East Asia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and parts of China, the betel nut has been found to cause oral cancer.
Many people in Papua New Guinea chew them regularly for a quick buzz, as a social practice and for food. It is said to help with halitosis, but don't be fooled.
Betel nuts are often used as a sort of cultural substitute for cigarettes, yet unlike their tobacco counterpart, they are hardly ever advertised with the risks and dangerous side effects included. They are extremely addictive, and according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they have resulted in hundreds of deaths across Asia and are linked to even more diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and oral cancer. Roughly 10 percent of the world's population chews the drug.
It deteriorates the teeth and erodes the gum line. It is the opposite of teeth whitening.
When visiting these Asian countries where the food is consumed regularly, you may notice some of the natives' red-stained teeth, which are the product of the juice from the areca nut. Many chew it throughout the day, and it certainly doesn't help. Youth who travel here customarily try the food when hanging out with locals, yet despite it's short-term influence on halitosis, you may want to kick the temptation and look for some teeth whitening options.
Betel nuts addicts are 28 times more likely to get malignant mouth tumors than those who do no consume them, according to a study by Professor Ying-Chin Ko of Kaohsiung Medical University.