Leukoplakia is marked by the formation of white or gray thickened patches on mucous membranes of cheeks, gums or tongue. The cause for Leukoplakia is still not known. However, it is mainly linked to usage of tobacco and consumption of alcohol. Hairy kind of Leukoplakia is observed during HIV infection which is caused by Epstein-Barr virus. Leukoplakia in long run may lead to oral cancer. Hence, oral examination with the dentist is advisable when the condition is suspected. Dentists send the tissue for biopsy to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. If a biopsy comes back positive for oral cancer, the patch must be removed immediately. This can help prevent its spread.
A study conducted in a city in Japan reported an incidence rate of 409 per 100,000 persons/year in males and 70 per 100,000 persons/year in females. The annual screening program reported from Japan showed that the age-adjusted incidence rate for leukoplakia was high in male than in female per 100, 000 persons. The age-adjusted incidence rate for tobacco-associated leukoplakia in males was almost 12 times as compared to females.