What is Oral Leukoplakia and Do I Need to Worry About It?
Posted on 8/10/2020 by Alyce
Leukoplakia is one of the rare oral conditions that still baffles scientists, but evidence strongly points to tobacco as the prime culprit behind the condition. When it sets off, leukoplakia leaves behind a trail of thick white, gray, or red patches along the gums, the inside of the cheeks, the bottom of the mouth, and, sometimes, the tongue. These patches cannot be scraped off or removed by regular brushing and flossing.
The condition usually doesn't result in discomforts or pain besides its unsightly look. But in certain cases, it can become pre-cancerous, precipitating oral cancer. This cancerous deterioration is usually indicated by red spots in the grey or white patches.
The good news is that the condition is hardly ever reported in people who have a long history of good oral hygiene. But if you're a tobacco user or are exposed to other possible causes of leukoplakia, and have noticed some unusual changes in your mouth, you need to call our offices as soon as possible even if there are no serious symptoms yet.
What Puts You at the Risk of Leukoplakia?
The main causes of leukoplakia have eluded scientists for a long time now, but evidence so far strongly suggests the use of tobacco (either smoking or smokeless products). Other suspected causes include injuries to the side of the cheek and the tongue caused by chipped, broken, or sharp teeth, broken or poorly-fitting dentures, inflammation, and the long-term use of alcohol. Hairy leukoplakia, a variation of the condition where hairs grow on the patches, usually results when Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) becomes active due to immune problems like HIV.
What's Best to Do About Leukoplakia?
You can prevent leukoplakia by avoiding the use of tobacco or alcohol. Foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory bodies can also fortify your body against leukoplakia. If you're already spotting the grey patches in your mouth, it's best to visit us at our office as soon as possible to let us examine your oral health and recommend the best course of action going forward.
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