Leukoplakia – Causes, Symptoms, Pictures, Treatment

July 30, 20130 Comments

Leukoplakia is marked by thick scaly white patches on the gums and bottom of the mouth. It is only temporary and can be easily scraped off. Leukoplakia white patches are harmless and do not cause cancer. However for small percentage of people it can be taken as early signs of cancer. In case you have thick white patches on the mouth you can consult your dentist.

Leukoplakia Causes

Exact cause of leukoplakia is not known, but it is believed to be caused by smoking and using tobacco in any form. Smoking repeatedly can alter the normal color of your oral cavity causing white or grey patches on the tongue or under the tongue.

Alcohol consumption for long term can also cause hairy leukoplakia. Hairy leukoplakia is seen developing on people with weakened immune system. These are like fuzzy patches looking like ridges on the tongue or on the mouth. It is more particularly seen in people with HIV infection. Hairy leukoplakia is caused by Epstein Barr virus infection. The microorganism remains inactive on the body and when the conditions are favorable it causes white scaly patches on the tongue.

Symptoms Of Leukoplakia

Small changes are observed on the gums once leukoplakia patches develop. It will take various shapes and sizes and sometimes it appears on the bottom of the tongue or mouth or on the gums.

White colored or grey patches are seen on the tongue or oral cavity that does not go away easily. These patches are of irregular shape with flat texture. The patches appear to be hard or thicker than usual and for some people it develops as small raised blisters red in color. This can be indication of early signs of mouth cancer. It is time to consult your doctor or dentist if you see white patches on the mouth that does not fade even after a week. There will be persistent changes in the oral cavity observed in the form of change of color of tissues.

Who are at risk?

People who are constantly using tobacco or involve in smoking can get oral cancer and leukoplakia. Though white patches on the mouth do not cause potential damage, still it is likely to cause oral cancer in small percentage. Even after the removal of white patches, the person remains prone to oral cancer, once he gets leukoplakia. When compared with women, men are at risk for developing leukoplakia and are often seen only on adults above 55 years.

Tests :

Your dentist can easily identify leukoplakia by examining the mouth. He may do a biopsy of the tissue sample for detecting the presence of cancer. In case if the result is positive the person will be sent for cancer treatment and removal of patches by a surgeon.

Treatment :

No treatment is required for mild form of white patches on the tongue or mouth. Stopping tobacco or smoking will resolve the problem. But if the patches do not disappear even after 10 days or more you need to visit your doctor. The dentist will gently scrape the patches using a scalpel or through laser beam. It can also be removed through freezing the patches for shrinking the patches or cancer causing cells.

Once you get leukoplakia, you should visit your doctor regularly for checking the mouth condition, since these patches will recur. Antiviral drugs like valacyclovir or famciclovir is given for treating viral infection. Often the patches will return after sometime and hence you should frequently visit your doctor to clear off the patches. Topical medications like podophyllum solution are given for managing the patches.

Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Leukoplakia :

Leukoplakia Leukoplakia Leukoplakia Leukoplakia

Prevention :

It is difficult to prevent leukoplakia patches, but you can stop using all tobacco products to protect your overall health. In case you drink, reduce the volume of alcohol or avoid taking it. Eat fresh fruits rich in antioxidants which will gradually reduce the chance of getting leukoplakia.

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