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I chew tobacco and gutkha. Went for dental checkup. Should I be worried about periodontitis gum disease?

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Dentist, Pedodontics
Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 24 Questions
Dear Dr. A ChAkrabroty,

I am going to write something about my oral condition, I used to chew tobacco and gutkha since 3-4 yrs. I quit chew tobacco more than 3 months. My soft palate looks quiet different colour like grey white colour ,I went to gp to check up my oral condition , as GP told me everything fine ,there is no cancer sign etc. even i went to dentist clinic to check up they said looks ok there is no sign of cancer but I'm worried about my oral cuz i had leaned my teeths last week I have periodontitis gum disease and dentist told me I have to be Verry serious about my teeth.

Could you tell me why my soft palates look different colour? And also is every people have different of soft palate??

Thank you
Posted Mon, 8 Oct 2012 in Dental Health
Answered by Dr. Amitabha Chakraborty 9 hours later
Thank you for the query. Sorry for the delay to answer it. I was stuck up in the OT as my patient was having delay in recovering from GA.
I understood your problem of discoloration of palate. The habit you had, is called smokeless tobacco habit. beside cancer It may also cause hyperkeratosis, that is thickening of the upper layer of skin or mucous membrane. Smokeless tobacco hyperkeratosis is a white, flat patch with a poorly demarcated periphery( blends with surrounding normal mucosa) and usually with regular and intertwining fissures running through it. Do you see any any fissures( fine folds) on the surface of our palate? it results from irritation of chemicals in tobacco and generally self limiting i.e. it disappears within few months after stopping of habit. Though it is more common in hard palate but may also seen in soft palate. It is almost impossible to diagnose such condition without seeing it. I only describe you one possibility which is related to tobacco chewing habit. Simple discoloration of palate can also occur from tobacco chewing.There are some other reasons of palatal discoloration like dissolved metallic ions on drinking water.
If you are not satisfied with your dentist's comment, you can visit to a specialist ORAL PATHOLOGIST to confirm your diagnosis. But a sustained palatal discoloration of a patient who is having a history of tobacco chewing for 3 to 4 years should be diagnosed correctly to avoid any unwanted outcome in future. Please visit a specialist dentist who is qualified with ORAL PATHOLOGY or ORAL DIAGNOSIS. You can easily find them in any Dental college. Thanks.
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Follow-up: I chew tobacco and gutkha. Went for dental checkup. Should I be worried about periodontitis gum disease? 1 hour later
Thank you so much doctor for your reply, i have an appointment after 2 months with oral pathology . But my soft palate colour has been changed but still looks grey white at some other area. also I have very dry mouth when I wake up, i feel like there is no spit at my mouth, usually i open my mouth when I sleep , any treatment for dry mouth? in Melbourne, Australia , this season is for hay fever allergy , last year I had itchy my nose and throat .

Answered by Dr. Amitabha Chakraborty 3 hours later
That,s good. I'm sure Your Oral pathologist will diagnose your problem correctly. As I wrote, changing to normal color and texture of your soft palate is expected, once you stop the habit. But a specialist opinion is required to see that whether your discoloration is truly due to tobacco chewing habit or something else. if you sleep keeping your mouth open, it is quite obvious that you will feel your mouth dry in the morning when you weak up. That's not a disease. The air that you breath thorough your mouth making your mucosa dry. I do have the same problem sometimes. That will be more if you drink alcohol in the night, because alcohol dehydrates. Take care to prevent attacks from hay fever allergen. Hope I have answered your queries. Thanks.
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