White patch in the oral cavity- Alarming sign to stop tobacco

Posted by Sudarshan Ramachandran on Thu, Apr 17, 2014  
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Tobacco in any form is generally used product nowadays. It is available as smoking form and smokeless form. Smoking form of tobacco that is usually utilized is cigarette, bidis and non smoking forms are pan. We regularly see for stop smoking advertisements in television, theatres, magazines and camps. Such publicity is provided to create awareness among the general public.

Several complications occur in our body due to smoking. Most general deadly disease encountered by the physician and dentist will be a cancer. Smoking kills by causing such diseases in our body. Such cancer even occurs in any part of the oral cavity. Both forms of tobacco cause oral cancer.

Everything in this world happens with a sign before an event. For example, cloud formation before a rain or cyclone. Similar features occur before cancer that can be considered as a sign. This sign we call it as oral precancer.

Several precancer sign occurs in the oral cavity. They are leukoplakia, erythroplakia, oral submucous fibrosis, Plummer Vinson syndrome and several others. These signs occur in any part of the oral cavity. They can be red or white in colour.

Based on color and respective severity we can classify our oral sign.

1.       At the initial stage of smoking phase, the sign becomes whiter and it results in leukoplakia.

2.       At the later phases of severity the sign transform to become redder with white and form severe form of leukoplakia called as speckled leukoplakia.

3.       The next severe form of sign called as erthroplakia. As more bright red, the sign is more prone the patient for oral cancer.

4.       The next and final phase of the disease is oral cancer.

The first three phases are called as oral precancer. The fourth phase is oral cancer proper. Treatment of oral precancer and cancer varies. Oral cancer needs an aggressive treatment. Success of treatment for oral cancer varies from patient to patient and it is unpredictable. So patient needs to quit the habit before any of the first three phase progress to oral cancer.

So sign can occur in any part of the oral cavity. But its presence at the site below the tongue, under surface of the tongue can be considered more serious. Usual sites being corner of lip and cheek. When you place your tongue over the area affected you may feel roughness. Sometimes you may feel burning sensation. Your dentist may counsel to quit the habit with some medication and gel to apply over the area. If such instructions are properly followed the sign could disappear within a span of two or more weeks.

Tobacco users have to take such issue more seriously. If you are a tobacco user look for a sign like this in the oral cavity.  If yes then it is an alarming sign to stop smoking. Visit your nearby dentist to confirm at which stage of disease you are.  If you are one of the tobacco users even without a sign then please quit the habit. Finally, I would like to request that let us join our hands to stop tobacco and help others to stop.


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