DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Leukoplakia (loo-ko-PLAY-key-uh) is a condition in which thickened, white patches form on your gums, the insides of your cheeks, the bottom of your mouth and, sometimes, your tongue. These patches can't easily be scraped off.
The cause of leukoplakia is unknown, but tobacco, whether smoked, dipped or chewed, is considered to be the main culprit in its development.
Leukoplakia usually isn't dangerous, but it can sometimes be serious. Although most leukoplakia patches are benign, a small percentage show early signs of cancer, and many cancers of the mouth occur next to areas of leukoplakia. For that reason, it's best to see your dentist if you have unusual, persistent changes in your mouth.
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