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 consucted to assess the oral mucosal health status of young male adults (aged 18 to 24 years) in Switzerland and to correlate their clinical findings with self-reported risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Data on the oral health status of 615 Swiss Army recruits were collected. A total of 468 findings were diagnosed in 327 (53.17%) of the 615 subjects. Eight lesions were clinically diagnosed as oral leukoplakias associated with smokeless tobacco. Among young male adults in Switzerland, a significant number of oral mucosal lesions can be identified, which strongly correlate with tobacco use. To improve primary and secondary prevention, young adults should therefore be informed more extensively about the negative effects of tobacco use on oral health.