Can Leukoplakia Go Away On Its Own?
Yes, leukoplakia can go away on its own. Leukoplakia is usually a benign disease. It is caused due to a chronic irritation of the oral mucous membranes. Like tobacco chewing, smoking, injuries to the mucous membranes by biting, unfitted dentures. These are some of the causes of oral leukoplakia. Usually when the irritation is removed these patches will disappear if it’s a benign disease.
What you have to remember is oral leukoplakia has a 20% chance of turning into oral cavity cancer (squamous cell carcinoma). So, any white-gray lesion in the oral cavity which cannot be rubbed off, slightly elevated from the normal surface, which has been present for 2 to 3 weeks can be malignant. Therefore if you have such a lesion and the above mentioned risk factors are also present you need to consult an oral surgeon, dentist. The doctor will decide whether to do a biopsy immediately or not.
Usual practice is if the lesion looks benign and if the above mentioned causes are present, first these irritant factors are removed. You need to stop tobacco chewing, smoking and any other chronic irritants should be avoided. After doing so, we can wait for about 2 weeks to see if the oral leukoplakia disappears. Usually if it was due to the irritant factors it will reduce or disappear when it’s removed.
Even after 2 weeks if the oral leukoplakic lesion is present then a biopsy should be done in order to rule out an oral cavity cancer. Sometimes it takes longer than 2 weeks for the oral leukoplakic lesion to disappear after the irritant is stopped. However, to be on the safe side and diagnose oral cancer at early stages we perform the biopsy.
Do not get alarmed or panicked if you have oral leukoplakia for some time and if you are also a smoker or chew tobacco. Oral cavity cancer in the population is about 1%. In order to prevent oral cavity cancers and identify cancer at early stages the doctors perform a biopsy. Undergoing a biopsy is not a reason to be panicked.
If the biopsy is negative for oral cancer, you can wait for some time to see if the oral leukoplakic lesion goes away on its own without any treatment. Most of the time it goes away. Topical treatment can be applied if your doctor suspect any infection associated with the oral leukoplakia. Can wait for about 6 months to see if it goes away. If ti does not go away it should be removed surgical under local anesthesia.
How To Prevent Oral Leukoplakia?
Good oral hygiene and stopping activities that damages the oral cavity mucosa is the best way to prevent oral leukoplakia
- Avoiding any kind of tobacco products.
- Avoiding inhaled or smoked products such as resin, cloves, cannabis.
- Stopping or reducing the consumption of alcohol.
- Routine dental examinations.
- Avoiding aggressive dental hygiene products such as whiteners and rinses.
- Make sure dental cavities are properly filled up.
- Make sure the dentures and braces are fixed properly without ant rough edges exposed.
- If there are any mouth wounds keep them clean.
- Avoid taking too hot drinks and food.
- Avoid taking foods that have rough edges that can cause injuries in the mouth like toffee.
- Have a balanced healthy diet with adequate nutrients.
- Avoid foods that cause allergic reactions.
Oral leukoplakia goes on its own most of the time. However, we perform a biopsy immediately if the lesion is suggestive of oral cavity cancer. If not the irritant can be stopped and see if the oral leukoplakic lesions disappear on its own in two weeks. If that does not occur a biopsy is done. If the biopsy is negative for cancer can wait without any treatment for about 6 months to see if the lesion disappears, during this time the chronic irritant should not be present. If the lesion does not go away it can be removed surgically.