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Tobacco Stomatitis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is tobacco stomatitis?

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).

What are the signs and symptoms of tobacco stomatitis?

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.

How is tobacco stomatitis diagnosed and treated?

Your dental or healthcare provider will be able to tell you have tobacco stomatitis by looking at the sores. Tell your provider how much you smoke every day, and how many years you have smoked. Your provider will need to know if you reverse smoke or use a pipe. The treatment for tobacco stomatitis is to stop smoking. The sores usually go away after about 2 weeks of no smoking. If they do not go away, your provider may take a sample to be tested for other health conditions.

What can I do to care for myself?

Where can I find more information and support to quit smoking?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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