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Tobacco Stomatitis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Tobacco stomatitis,

or smoker's palate, is inflammation of mucus membranes in your mouth. A combination of harmful chemicals in tobacco and intense heat irritates the mucus membranes. This causes sores to form on the roof of your mouth. Tobacco stomatitis is most common in people who smoke pipes or who reverse smoke (inhale from the lit end of a cigarette).

Signs and symptoms:

You may not know you have tobacco stomatitis. It may be found during a routine dental or physical examination. You may notice the sores but find that they do not change or worsen for years. Tobacco stomatitis begins as redness on the hard palate (roof) of your mouth that is darker than usual. Thick white sores or patches with a red dot in each center then begin to form. Small salivary glands on the roof of your mouth also become inflamed. This may cause some discomfort.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or worsening sores in your mouth, or other symptoms develop.
  • You have trouble eating or drinking because of the sores.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

for tobacco stomatitis is to stop smoking. The sores usually go away after a few weeks of no smoking. If they do not go away, your provider may take a sample from a sore. The sample is tested for other health conditions that may need to be treated.

Self-care:

  • Do not smoke cigarettes or use nicotine products. Tobacco and nicotine products can also increase your risk for other health conditions, such as lung and heart disease. E-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, and similar products still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help to quit smoking or using nicotine products.
  • Do not drink hot liquids. Hot liquids can make tobacco stomatitis worse. Let liquids cool before you drink them.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for cleaning and preventive care.

For more information and support to quit smoking:

  • Smokefree.gov
    Phone: 1- 800 - 784-8669
    Web Address: www.smokefree.gov

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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