Leukoplakia usually doesn't cause permanent damage to tissues in your mouth. However, oral cancer is a potentially serious complication of leukoplakia. Oral cancers often form near leukoplakia patches, and the patches themselves may show cancerous changes. Even after leukoplakia patches are removed, the risk of oral cancer remains.

Hairy leukoplakia, on the other hand, isn't painful and isn't likely to lead to cancer. But it may indicate HIV infection or AIDS.

Jul. 26, 2013