Although the sores can vary in appearance, they are usually white or gray; thick; and slightly raised with a hard surface. The condition is thought to be caused by irritation, but the cause is not always known. Tobacco is considered to be the main cause of its development in the mouth. Most patches are benign, but a small percentage show early signs of cancer. Removing the source of irritation may cause the condition to go away, but surgery to remove the sore(s) may be necessary in some cases.Leukoplakia is a condition in which thickened, white patches form on the tongue, gums, inside of the cheek, or sometimes on the outer female genitals.
Last updated: 5/21/2012
- Leukoplakia. Mayo Clinic. November 2, 2010; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/leukoplakia/DS00458. Accessed 5/21/2012.
- Leukoplakia. MedlinePlus. July 20, 2011; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001046.htm. Accessed 5/21/2012.
- MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
- The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Leukoplakia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.