Leukoplakia is also known as idiopathic white patch, idiopathic keratosis, and idiopathic leukoplakia and most often refers to a condition where areas of keratosis (a horny growth on the skin) show up as firmly attached white patches on the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and appears on the inside of the cheek, on the tongue, and on the inside the mouth.
The exact cause of Leukoplakia is not know but it could be due to irritation caused by drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking, rough teeth, holding chewing tobacco in the mouth for extended periods of time, and Sanguinaria which is an herbal extract used in some mouthwashes and toothpastes. This disorder tends to be more common in older adults.
Most cases of Leukoplakia cause no symptoms but sometimes there may be discomfort or pain.
Leukoplakia may appear white, grey, or whitish yellow. The most common sites affected are the labia mucosa, the buccal mucosa, and the alveolar mucosa. White or grey patches on the tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, or the inside of the cheeks may have developed over weeks and months and appear thick, slightly raised, and may even take on a rough and hard texture.
The exact cause of leukoplakia is not known. It’s principally linked to tobacco use. Below are other associated causes.
Oral cancer has been linked to leukoplakia although on rare occasions. Similarly, people infected with HIV/AIDS also are at high risk of getting leukoplakia due to an interference with the body immunity. A short-term fungal infection of the mouth known as candidiasis can also cause this disease. Infection with the human papilloma virus and the non-infectious oral lichen planus have been cited as possible causes of leukoplakia
Long time exposure of lips to the sun, poor oral hygiene, long-term alcohol consumption, as well as severe or frequent burning of the mouth from hot liquids or foods are all prerequisites of leukoplakia.
Frictional Kerasotes caused by misaligned teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or long-term cheek biting can all cause this condition. Likewise, jagged, sharp, or broken teeth rubbing on tongue surfaces can also lead to leukoplakia.
Chewing certain nuts and leafs, such as areca nuts and betel leaves are believed to cause the condition. Furthermore, a person suffering from vitamin A or B deficiency is likely to get leukoplakia.
It’s important to treat dental causes such as rough teeth, fillings, or an irregular denture surface as soon as possible. The individual should also cease smoking, using tobacco, and drinking. If removing the source of the irritation doesn’t work applying medication to the patch may be recommended or even surgery to remove the patch.
Recommended ways to prevent leukoplakia and its complications include:
Predisposed persons should avoid some things that can lead to leukoplakia. They include:
Proper management of the risk factors can significantly keep the disease at bay. Here are some essential tips.