Leukoplakia is quite common among adults and children. However, it is not as popular as other oral diseases. If you have not heard about it, you are not alone. There are many others who fall in the same category as they have not heard about the disease. Leukoplakia is an oral condition. When you suffer from leukoplakia, white, thick, and gray patches form around your mouth and tongue. Usually, smoking causes this disease. However, it is not smoking alone, other irritants work to cause this disease as well.
Whether leukoplakia is deadly or not, is a question. Leukoplakia, when appeared in a mild form, is not too harmful. In fact, when appeared in a mild form, leukoplakia disappears without any treatment. However, leukoplakia is a serious disease when left untreated, it can cause oral cancer. In that case, it needs immediate treatment. If you want to avoid leukoplakia, you need to take regular care of your teeth and gum. Oral care is the only process that can prevent leukoplakia and its advancement.
Symptoms of Leukoplakia
If you are not aware of the existence of leukoplakia, you may not be able to detect the symptoms of the disease. To prevent the advancement of the disease, you need to know the symptoms and be aware of them.
Leukoplakia can appear anywhere around the body. However, this disease needs mucosal tissue to occur. This tissue can be found inside the mouth. Therefore, leukoplakia can be found around the mouth and tongue.
Unusual patches around the mouth are its key symptom. The patches may differ in appearance. Some patches might have the below-mentioned features.
- Some patches may appear gray in color
- Some patches may appear white in color
- Some patches have a thick and hard surface
- Hairy patches are not uncommon either
- You can notice a red spot on patches
If you notice redness on patches, you should be alarmed. You must see a doctor immediately if you see red patches around your mouth. Redness can be a sign of oral cancer.
Leukoplakia does not have any particular space to occur. It can appear on your gum as well. Sometimes it appears under the cheeks, on your tongue, or around your lips. These patches might take some weeks to proceed. These patches are not painful and therefore, people don’t notice them at the time of commencing.
Causes of Leukoplakia
The problem with leukoplakia lies in its cause. No one knows for sure what causes this disease. However, it is known that the disease is closely linked to tobacco use. Therefore, it can be attached to excess smoking. However, those who chew tobacco, are at risk of suffering from leukoplakia as well.
Other smoking and tobacco chewing there are other causes of leukoplakia as well. Injury to your cheeks can be a cause of this oral disease. The mouth injury can be caused by biting as well. You need to be careful about the injuries inside your cheeks and biting them as these can cause leukoplakia.
Rough and uneven teeth can be a key cause of leukoplakia. Such teeth can cause injury to the cheeks and lead to leukoplakia. Improperly fitted dentures can cause leukoplakia as well. Inflammatory mouth condition is another reason for which you may suffer from this disease. If you are prone to alcohol use, you may get affected by leukoplakia as well. Therefore, it is better to avoid alcohol use and stick to a healthy lifestyle.
Some claim that there is a close connection between leukoplakia and the human papillomavirus. However, nothing is established yet. Experts are yet to find enough data to link the two together.
The Epstein-Barr virus is a key reason for which hair leukoplakia occurs. If you get this virus, you will be permanently affected by this. EBV remains inside the human body. However, this virus only causes leukoplakia. Due to this virus, you may suffer from the development of this oral issue. However, the leukoplakia outbreak occurs due to HIV. Also, it may occur to people who have no self-control.
To diagnose this disease dentists will go for an oral test. Only through an oral test, the dentist decides whether the patches you are suffering from are leukoplakia or not. Without a test, the patches may look like oral thrush.
Thrush is an infection that occurs inside the mouth. It happens due to yeast development inside the mouth. The patches which occur due to thrush are usually soft which is not the case when someone is suffering from leukoplakia. Patches that occur due to thrush can be wiped away. However, leukoplakia patches cannot be wiped away. These patches may bleed at times.
Sometimes dental experts run additional tests to determine the type of oral patches. Also, they may need more data to find the cause of the oral patches you are suffering from. Once they determine the type and the cause, they prescribe treatment for the patches.
Sometimes the oral patch may need a biopsy. However, for a biopsy to take place, the oral patches need to look suspicious. Oral experts remove a small piece of tissue to perform a biopsy. After running a test on this tissue, the experts determine whether the tissue is cancerous or not.
Usually, leukoplakia disappears on its own. Most of the time this disease does not need oral treatment. However, if you want to be on the safe side, you should avoid taking any substance which may cause leukoplakia. Therefore, you should avoid chewing tobacco. In case, your illness has been triggered by any such substance, your dentist will be able to determine this. In case, a tissue shows a cancerous tendency or the result appears positive, you will need to remove the entire patch. This stalls the process of cancer from spreading.
Dentists use laser therapy to remove patches. A freezing procedure is another treatment that can be used to stall cancer from spreading. Hairy leukoplakia usually does not need a removal process as these patches usually are not cancerous.
You can prevent leukoplakia by making some significant changes in your lifestyle. Reducing smoking and tobacco chewing are the best way to prevent leukoplakia from occurring. In addition, you need to maintain a balanced diet to stay away from leukoplakia.