Leukoplakia is a medical condition characterized by the appearance of white benign patches in the oral cavity (mouth) especially on the gums, insides of the cheek and occasionally on the surface of the tongue. It is usually a painless growth but on rare occasions can be painful and at such times requires immediate medical attention. Unlike many oral inflammations or growth leukoplakia cannot be scraped off.
It is usually associated with tobacco use and smoking, but can also be caused by a number of others factors which include:
- Long term alcohol usage.
- Improperly fitted dentures.
- Rough uneven teeth.
- Injury to the insides of the mouth caused by biting.
- Inflammatory conditions of the body.
Is Leukoplakia Dangerous?
Having known what leukoplakia is and the causes, it is safe to say that leukoplakia is generally harmless but always be aware that if uncontrolled, leukoplakia may be a warning sign for oral cancer and at that time could become dangerous if not properly treated. This is not to scare you, but you could do yourself a whole lot of good by visiting the dentist regularly to carry out periodic oral exams if you have a history of recurring leukoplakia just to be on the safe side.
Leukoplakia does not usually cause long term damages to your oral tissues, but could increase the risk of oral cancer as cancerous growth usually form near leukoplakia patches.
When leukoplakia patches appear reddish there is an increased chance of oral cancer and as such a biopsy is needed to ascertain if the predictions are correct.
It is extremely important to see a doctor if leukoplakia begins to show the following symptoms:
- White patches with raised red regions.
- White lumps with dark red patches.
- Difficulty swallowing or moving the jaw.
- Leukoplakia patches that last for more than two weeks.
- Particularly painful patches.
Do not be alarmed if you experience these symptoms but do the wise thing and go see a dentist just to be sure.
Diagnosis of Leukoplakia
Generally leukoplakia can be diagnosed with a simple oral exam by your dentist who can also request a biopsy if the growth looks suspicious enough, this is to rule out any possibilities of oral cancer.
If the biopsy comes back as positive for oral cancer then the patch must be removed as soon as possible to prevent the spread of cancerous cells. This can be done by using laser therapy, a scalpel or through surgical means.
Treatment of Leukoplakia
Normally these patches usually go away on their own after a few weeks but the safest method is to abstain from the perceived initial causes as there is no known conventional cure or treatment for leukoplakia available yet.
With all these things being said, Health is the greatest wealth and should be safeguarded with great care and caution. The smallest unimportant things tend to do the greatest damage, this simply means that whatever you do, as soon as you spot any difference in normal bodily functions, it will do you a great deal of good to go see a doctor as soon as possible. Leukoplakia may sound harmless but if not properly taken care of could become a great cause of alarm. Stay healthy and always be kind to people.
- What is Leukoplakia & How is it Treated?
- Can Leukoplakia go away On Its Own?
- Can Leukoplakia turn into Cancer?
- Is Leukoplakia Contagious?
- Is Leukoplakia Curable?
- Is Leukoplakia Malignant?
- Can Hairy Leukoplakia be Scraped off?