LEUKOPLAKIA

Description

  • White patch that develops in the mouth
  • These patches cannot be scraped off
  • Closely linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer

Symptoms

Patches appear as:

  • Most often white or gray
  • Uneven in shape
  • Fuzzy (oral hairy leukoplakia)
  • Slightly raised, with a hard surface
  • Unable to be scraped off
  • Painful when the patches come into contact with acidic or spicy food

Patches appear at:

  • Floor of the mouth
  • Soft palate (back of the roof of the mouth)
  • Inside of the cheek
  • Lower lip
  • Gums

Causes

  • Rough teeth
  • Rough places on dentures, fillings, and crowns
  • Smoking or other tobacco use, especially pipes
  • Holding chewing tobacco in the mouth for a long period of time
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol
  • Oral thrush
  • Vitamin A or B deficiency

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use
  • Oral Cancer
  • Drinking combined with smoking

Diagnostic Tests

  • Examining the patches in the mouth
  • Biopsy of the lesions
  • Using imaging system to detect abnormal cells

Treatment

  • Stop tobacco or alcohol use
  • Removal of leukoplakia patches
  • Follow up visits
  • Antiviral Medications
  • Antiretroviral Medications

Medications

  • Acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir)

Prevention

  • Avoid using any form of tobacco
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet
  • Get rough teeth treated immediately
  • Have the dental appliances repaired right away
  • Go for regular dental check-ups
  • Practice oral hygiene
  • Brush and floss the teeth everyday