What Is Leukoplakia? Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

The disorder leukoplakia results in the development of white plaques or patches on the tongue and oral mucosa. Smoking and other annoying behaviors like them frequently result in leukoplakia. Leukoplakia is often distinguishable from other benign plaques and patches in the mouth by a physical examination by a doctor.

What Signs And Symptoms Indicate Leukoplakia?

In areas of the body with mucosal tissue, like the mouth, leukoplakia can develop.

Your mouth will develop strange-looking patches as a result of the disorder. These patches can vary in appearance and have the following features:

  • Either white or grey
  • An elevated, hard, and thick surface
  • Hairy/fuzzy (hairy leukoplakia alone) 
  • Red marks (rare)

Cancer may be indicated by redness. If you get red spots or patches on your skin, call your doctor straight once.

On your lips, inside of your cheeks, beneath or on your tongue, and even on your gums, leukoplakia can develop. Though, development of the patches might take many weeks. Rarely are they painful.

Some women may get leukoplakia within the vagina as well as on the exterior of their genitalia in the vulva area. Usually, menopausal women exhibit this. It is a harmless disorder. You should get in touch with your doctor if you have any concerns about something more serious.

Must read : Should I Worry About The Sore On My Tongue?

Why Does Leukoplakia Develop?

Leukoplakia’s precise origin is uncertain. The main association is with cigarette usage. Though, main contributing factor is smoking. Chewing tobacco, however, can also result in leukoplakia.

Additional factors include:

  • Bite-related injuries to the inside of your cheek
  • Unequal, rough teeth
  • Dentures, especially if they are fitted incorrectly
  • Inflammatory diseases that affect the body
  • Chronic alcoholism

Leukoplakia Is Diagnosed In What Ways?

An oral examination is typically used to diagnose leukoplakia. Your medical professional can determine if the patches are leukoplakia via an oral examination. So, the illness might be mistaken for oral thrush.

A yeast infection of the mouth called thrush. It typically results in softer patches than leukoplakia. They could be more likely to haemorrhage. Unlike oral thrush, leukoplakia patches cannot be removed with a wet cloth.

To verify the origin of your spots, your doctor may need to do further testing. This enables them to propose a remedy that could stop new patches from forming in the future.

Your doctor will do a biopsy if a patch appears worrisome. However, they take a little bit of tissue from one or more of your spots to perform a biopsy. After that, a pathologist will examine the tissue sample to look for precancerous or cancerous cells.

Also Read : 7 Causes Of Brown Spots On Tongue

What Leukoplakia Treatments Are Available?

The majority of patches heal on their own and don’t need any treatment. Avoid any triggers, such as cigarette smoking, that may have contributed to the development of your leukoplakia. Your dentist might be able to help if your condition is caused by irritation from a tooth issue.

The patch must be removed right once if an oral cancer diagnosis is made after a biopsy. This may lessen the spread of cancerous cells.

Patches can be eliminated with the use of a knife, laser treatment, or a freezing process.

Hairy leukoplakia normally does not need to be removed and is unlikely to develop into mouth cancer. However, antiviral drugs may be recommended by your doctor to assist halt the growth of the patches. Retinoic acid-containing topical ointments can also be used to reduce patch size.

What Can Be Done To Avoid Leukoplakia?

A change in lifestyle can stop a lot of leukoplakia cases:

  • Give up chewing or smoking tobacco.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Consume foods high in antioxidants like spinach and carrots. So, patch-causing irritants may become inactive with the aid of antioxidants.


Inform your doctor if you see any discoloured spots in your mouth as leukoplakia might raise your risk for oral cancer. Moreover oral cancer risk factors overlap with many of the risk variables for leukoplakia. Leukoplakia and oral cancer can coexist.

Does Genital Leukoplakia Develop Into Cancer As Well?

Typically, leukoplakia in the oral mucosa is diagnosed by doctors. Typically, they consider it to be a precancerous lesion. The same can be true if a doctor makes a diagnosis in the vaginal area. Findings in the vaginal region, however, are more likely to be due to a different precancerous condition such vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia.

How Long Does It Take Leukoplakia To Recover?

Usually painless, leukoplakia lesions disappear a few weeks or months after the irritation cause is eliminated. Leukoplakia may require surgical removal if removing the irritation does not successfully reduce it.

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