Oral Leukoplakia - Symptoms And Treatment

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Video: Oral Leukoplakia - Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Oral Leukoplakia - Symptoms And Treatment
Video: Leukoplakia signs and symptoms 2023, March
Oral Leukoplakia - Symptoms And Treatment
Oral Leukoplakia - Symptoms And Treatment

Oral leukoplakia: symptoms and treatment

Oral leukoplakia is a pathological area of induration on the mucous membrane, which is characterized by excessive keratinization. The disease has a chronic course and can be malignant, that is, degenerate into a malignant neoplasm.


  • What is Leukoplakia?
  • Oral leukoplakia symptoms
  • Causes of oral leukoplakia
  • Types and forms of oral leukoplakia
  • Diagnostics of the oral leukoplakia
  • Treatment of oral leukoplakia

What is Leukoplakia?

Leukoplakia is a disease that affects the mucous membranes, causing keratinization of the integumentary epithelium of varying severity. Leukoplakia mainly affects the mucous membranes of the cheeks, especially the corners of the mouth, the lower lip, it also happens on the back or lateral surface of the tongue, the alveolar ridge and in the area of the floor of the mouth. The surface of the integumentary epithelium is covered with unevenly keratinized scales.

At risk are mostly people aged 30 years. This disease begins to develop in the area of mucous surfaces, such as the tongue, corner and bottom of the mouth, lower lip, cheeks; in the vagina, on the clitoris and vulva, in the cervix, it occurs, but less often, in the area of the preputial sac and the glans penis or in the anal area. If leukoplakia begins on the cheeks and tongue, then keratinization occurs along the junction of the teeth. Leukoplakia is a consequence of smoking and alcoholism. It provokes a lack of vitamins, and is accompanied by a sluggish chronic inflammation. Has an immune effect on chronic irritation of the mucous surface. Leukoplakia is divided into different forms.

What is Leukoplakia
What is Leukoplakia

Oral leukoplakia symptoms

Oral leukoplakia symptoms
Oral leukoplakia symptoms

Plaques form most often in the corners of the mouth, on the tongue, on the inner surface of the cheeks, on the gums and on the lips. As the pathology progresses, leukoplakia can spread to the organs of the digestive system, to the nasal cavity, to the respiratory organs.

The elderly and HIV-infected people are at risk for the development of leukoplakia. More often the disease affects men than women.

Leukoplakia is not an independent pathology, it indicates that something is wrong in the body. If the doctor found characteristic rashes on the mucous membrane, treatment should be started.

Symptoms of oral leukoplakia are as follows:

  1. Bleeding of the affected area.
  2. Pain in the area of inflammation.
  3. The appearance of the seal area.
  4. Rapid increase in leukoplakia in size
  5. The appearance on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity of growths in the form of papillae.
  6. Peeling of the affected area.

When such symptoms appear, you need to be wary, as they can be signs of the degeneration of leukoplakia.

Causes of oral leukoplakia

Causes of oral leukoplakia
Causes of oral leukoplakia

To date, scientists cannot name the exact causes of oral leukoplakia. However, they have identified some factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease. The main one is considered to be chronic trauma to the oral mucosa.

Other reasons include:

  • Smoking. Not only inhalation of smoke from ordinary cigarettes is harmful, but also hookah smoking and chewing tobacco. The toxic substances contained in them lead to the fact that the epithelium does not have time to recover, thereby creating the prerequisites for pathological changes in its cells.
  • Eating very hot or very cold food (s). In this regard, spicy, salty and sour foods are dangerous.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Oral trauma. Crowns, tooth fragments, orthodontic constructions, and prostheses are a common cause of mechanical damage to the mucous membranes.
  • Influence of the current on the body, in the presence of metal crowns in the mouth.
  • Work at a harmful enterprise. Contact with varnishes, resins, aniline dyes and other chemicals adversely affects health.
  • Hereditary predisposition to leukoplakia.
  • HIV infection or stage AIDS.
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation on the body.
  • Taking medications.
  • Vitamin A deficiency in the body.
  • Deficiency in the body of iron, potassium and magnesium.
  • Anemia.
  • Chronic diseases of the digestive system.
  • Diabetes.
  • Diseases of the endocrine system, accompanied by hormonal imbalance.

Types and forms of oral leukoplakia

There are several types of oral leukoplakia:

  • Flat leukoplakia manifests itself in the form of a sharply limited continuous opacity of the shell, sometimes it resembles a film that cannot be torn off. The color of the lesion ranges from pale gray to white, depending on the intensity of keratinization. The surface is rough and dry. The borders of the focus are usually jagged. At the base of the areas of keratinization, there are usually no seals. In the corners of the mouth along the edges of leukoplakia, slight hyperemia may occur. In the form of folds, leukoplakia is located on the cheeks, and in the form of a wrinkled film of grayish-white color - at the bottom of the oral cavity.

    The flat form of the disease generally does not cause special complaints in patients, only sometimes there is a feeling of constriction.

  • Verrucous leukoplakia manifests itself as a towering milky white, smooth plaque. It can also manifest itself in the form of dense, bumpy, grayish-white warty growths protruding by 2-3 mm, very often against the background of a flat form of leukoplakia.

  • Types and forms
    Types and forms
  • Erosive leukoplakia (ulcerative) causes cracks and erosion, contributes to the development of other forms of the disease. Formed in foci of flat or verrucous leukoplakia of various shapes and sizes. This form of the disease causes pain. If left untreated, the defects progress rapidly.

  • Leukoplakia of smokers (tappainer) manifests itself in the form of continuous keratinization of the hard and adjacent areas of the soft palate, usually grayish-white. Against the background of all this, red dots are visible, which represent the gaping mouths of the excretory ducts of the salivary glands. In the most pronounced form, nodules form in the keratinization zone, this makes the disease similar to Daria's disease on the oral mucosa. However, smokers' leukoplakia has a red dot at the top of the nodule, and as soon as the person quits smoking, the disease goes away.

  • Types and forms
    Types and forms
  • Mild leukoplakia. This form of the disease is characterized by the appearance of a tumor. There is no inflammation, but the tissues are edematous and have a gray-white color. The borders are indistinct, the cells of the affected tissues are scaly. If you try to remove the flaking, then under the exfoliated particles you can see an eroded area covered with cracks. Cheeks, lips and tongue are affected. Children and young people often suffer from it.

Types and forms
Types and forms

Diagnostics of the oral leukoplakia

Diagnostics of the leukoplakia
Diagnostics of the leukoplakia

To begin with, the doctor examines the oral cavity and palpates the affected areas. It is important to study the patient's history, as well as to clarify the state of his health and the presence of chronic diseases.

To confirm the diagnosis, you need to perform a biopsy of the altered tissues and conduct their cytological analysis. If the need arises, the doctor prescribes additional studies for the patient.

It is important to carry out differential diagnostics with such pathologies as:

  • Chronic oral candidiasis. Affected tissues during a fungal infection will be well separated, and regenerated cells are found under them.

  • Lichen planus. It focuses not only on the mouth, but also on the skin.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus. The tissues atrophy, the foci of inflammation have a rich red color.

  • Bowen's disease. Areas of mucosa are red, pasty. It is not difficult to remove plaque, and under it you can see rough red spots. The skin is affected, and not only the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.

  • Erythroplakia. The damaged tissue becomes red and itchy. The spots reach 20 mm in diameter, have clear boundaries, and are located on the tongue at the throat. They sometimes form on the labia, near the vagina. This disease, like leukoplakia, can become malignant.

  • Leukopenia. With this pathology, ulcerative defects form in the oral cavity. They can appear not only in the mouth, but also on the intestinal walls. The patient's body temperature rises, weakness increases, he is pursued by a headache. The tonsils swell and hurt, the spleen increases in size.

  • Pachyderma. With this disease, plaques form on the mucous membranes of the larynx, which in appearance resemble warts. They also form on the vocal cords. The color of the plaques is yellow or whitish-gray. The mucous membrane becomes loose, has a blue color.

  • Pachyderma of the head. The scalp suffers from this disease. It becomes covered with folds, the skin becomes denser. Due to the disease, the surface of the head begins to resemble the brain.

  • SOPR. This pathology affects the oral mucosa. The cause of its development may be lichen planus, viral infections, stomatitis. If the pathology is not treated, then it threatens with a transition to a cancerous tumor.

Treatment of oral leukoplakia

Treatment of oral leukoplakia
Treatment of oral leukoplakia

For the treatment to be as effective as possible, it is necessary to eliminate all risk factors that could provoke the development of oral leukoplakia.

The main directions of therapeutic effects:

  • Making adjustments to your lifestyle. It is necessary to give up cigarettes, eat right, enrich the menu with products rich in vitamin B, vitamin C. You can take tocopherol and retinol.
  • The doctor must properly sanitize the oral cavity, cure teeth and gums, replace dentures and crowns that can injure soft tissues.
  • If leukoplakia has struck the lips, then you will need to use photoprotective agents.
  • Regenerative drugs such as Sodium Nucleinate or Metacin are used to treat erosive and ulcerative leukoplakia.
  • If the affected tissue is not restored, then the patient is indicated for surgery.
  • Complement the main treatment with physiotherapy methods.

At an early stage of leukoplakia, conservative treatment is sufficient. Patients are prescribed drugs to improve immunity, anti-inflammation agents, vitamin and mineral complexes.

If a patient is diagnosed with a verrucous form of leukoplakia, then he is given blockade with Delagil's or Khonsurid's solution.

Areas of leukoplakia in the oral cavity are removed by cryodestruction. However, after the procedure, there is a risk of scar tissue formation. Also, the affected area can be eliminated with a laser or electro excision method.

Leukoplakia is a disease that can affect not only the oral cavity, but other organs as well. Pathology can develop in the bladder and on the genitals, leading to a thickening of their tissues. For a long time, the disease remains undetected. She is often discovered by accident.

Leukoplakia can affect the organs of the digestive system, larynx, intestines, esophagus, stomach. Sometimes the respiratory tract is affected. To date, the causes of leukoplakia have not been established. The first scientific reports on this problem appeared only 10-15 years ago.


Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist

Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".

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