Leukoplakia on Tongue: White Discoloration in the Mouth

Leukoplakia on tongue can be identified by the large white spots that form on the mucous membrane. The condition can occur in several places in the mouth at the same time. Leukoplakia on the tongue or in the mouth can be described as a very irritating and burning feeling. In very rare cases, such a leukoplakia spot can eventually develop into a malignant oral cancer.

Causes of leukoplakia on tongue

Leukoplakia on tongue is especially common in people over forty years. In addition, some things in the mouth can trigger leukoplakia. You can think of the following things:

  • Very poorly fitting dentures
  • Or by another present object that irritates in the mouth, for example (teeth, fillings, crowns).
  • Other recognizable causes are mainly chewing chewing tobacco or smoking.

In smokers who have leukoplakia on tongue have to do with smokers keratosis. This can eventually develop, because the mouth cannot withstand heat-sensitive products. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can also be one of the causes of leukoplakia. It may also be the case that leukoplakia returns regularly without a cause being found.

leukoplakia on tongue

Hairy leukoplakia

People who mainly suffer from HIV or AIDS usually experience hairy leukoplakia patches in the mouth. The spots in the mouth look very different from a normal leukoplakia spot. The shape looks very much thrush, this is a fungus. Hairy leukoplakia can be distinguished, because the leukoplakia spots also form deposits. This could be a sign that the immune system is no longer functioning properly.


  • In the mouth you can see white or gray spots;
  • Most common spots are mainly on the tongue, gums or inside of the cheeks;
  • The spots are getting thicker;
  • It can feel very rough in the end;
  • With hot and spicy food, it can be very irritating with leukoplakia.


When in doubt or uncertainty of leukoplakia on tongue, you can make an appointment with the dentist or the doctor. To be sure whether or not such a white spot is leukoplakia, an investigation follows first. During such an examination, the doctor will remove a small piece of tissue from the white spot, so that it can be examined under a microscope. This is very important so that the doctor can get a clear picture and it is certain that it is ultimately leukoplakia and not an early form of oral cancer. Three percent of the cases are a form of cancer.


Usually, a cause of leukoplakia can be identified so that it can be treated. A very sharp molar, tooth or denture can be sharpened to finally remove the source of the irritation. If you smoke or chew chewing tobacco, it is best to stop doing this to ensure that these annoying leukoplakia spots are permanently removed. After a few months, such irritating spots do not return at all.

If the leukoplakia does not disappear after the cause has been removed, a treatment with a laser is eventually done, which is done locally by means of an anesthetic. Such treatments take place in special clinics. Usually it is necessary to laser several times for the leukoplakia spot to dissolve. In places where it is very hairy, antiviral medicines will be prescribed. After such a treatment it is very important to check that the leukoplakia does not come back. For that you have to visit the hospital several times in a while.


I found a video below, so you can get an idea of what leukoplakia looks like.

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