Leukoplakia is a condition that appears as grey or white patches forming on the tongue, the floor of the mouth or gums. From excess cell growth, it is known to be caused by different irritants such as:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Alcohol use
- Sun exposure
- Constant rubbing of a denture in one area
- Cheek biting
Leukoplakia is typically harmless and with good oral hygiene and avoiding the irritant, it can clear up on its own within a week to a month. If the patch has been long-lasting or has a recurring history, it has been known to increase your risk of oral cancers. Leukoplakia is often diagnosed with an oral exam from your dentist, therefore it is important to have regular dental checkups. If patches look suspicious your dentist will have a biopsy taken of this area to further determine what is the cause and if it is harmful to you. The right plan to manage the disease will then be determined. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if you notice any of irregularities such as patches in your mouth.