Oral Hairy Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is the formation of white or grey patches found on the tongue and cheeks and sometimes on the mouth. When the soft mucous membrane of the mouth gets inflamed, it results in leukoplakia. This type of infection is more common on elder persons than adults.

Epstein Barr virus is found to cause oral hairy leukoplakia in the mouth or tongue. People who are affected with HIV virus are more prone to get luekoplakia. The symptom of unusual hair like structures is seen on the tongue or affected area and hence the name oral hairy leukoplakia is given.

By appearance, it may look like thrush or Candida infection which is found in adults but the virus causing leukoplakia is different.

Smoking, using fillings in the cavity of mouth, chronic usage of tobacco and oral cancer are some of the major causes for getting leukoplakia. The presence of whitish grey colored patches in the tongue with hair like growth is one of the symptoms of this disease. After some period, the patch will grow into thick raised structures which resemble hair. The mouth will become hard and for many persons, numbness may be felt without having the feeling of pain. Swallowing food may become difficult for such persons.

Removal of irritating particle from the mouth will provide relief for many people. For instance, if irregular filling of dental cap is causing irritation, then removing the same would alleviate the symptoms and pain. No treatment is required for mild forms of leukoplakia and following clean dental habits will show improvement. Taking vital antibiotics will destroy viral growth. In rare cases, the lesion and hair like particles are removed surgically.

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