Leukoplakia is a condition in which one or more white patches or spots (lesions) forms inside the mouth. These patches do not scrape off. And while still debatable, one of the main causes of leucoplakia is considered to be chronic irritation from tobacco — whether smoked, dipped or chewed.
Leukoplakia is different from other causes of white patches such as thrush or lichen planus because it can eventually develop into oral cancer. Most leukoplakia patches are noncancerous, though some show early signs of cancer. Cancers on the bottom of the mouth can occur next to areas of Leukoplakia. The likelihood of developing cancer from Leukoplakia depends on the size, shape, and appearance of abnormal cells.
For Leukoplakia, surgeons might suggest an excisional biopsy, depending upon the severity of your disease. The biopsy involves surgically removing tissue from the leukoplakia patch or removing the entire patch if it’s small.