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Leukoplakia are patches which are thick, white, and develop inside the mouth. Though generally non-cancerous, these patches can be uncomfortable and indicate more serious conditions. Here are a few things you should know about leukoplakia.

How It Develops

When tissues in the mouth become irritated, their cells can produce in excess, creating a growth that is the leukoplakia patch. Items that irritate the mouth include:

  • Tobacco
  • Poorly-fitted dentures
  • The habit of chewing on the cheek
  • Teeth or crowns with rough spots

How It Is Related To Oral Cancer

It is very rare for a leukoplakia patch to become cancerous; however, leukoplakia patches are associated with oral cancer. They can be a sign of this disease because oral cancer often grows near leukoplakia patches.

How It Is Treated

Leukoplakia patches often go away on their own, but if you are seeing other changes in the mouth or the leukoplakia hasn’t gone away after two weeks, then see your dentist. Leukoplakia patches can be treated by:

  • Quitting tobacco use, fixing the fit of dentures, or taking other steps to remove the cause of your leukoplakia.
  • Undergoing a biopsy to remove the patches with a laser, scalpel, or cryoprobe (which freezes the cells).