Skip to main content
Important information regarding COVID-19

White Lesions of the Oral Mucosa

White Lesions of the Oral Mucosa

The soft lining of the inside of the mouth is subjected to all sorts of irritants and trauma on a daily basis. In fact, the gums, the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the throat, and all of the other soft surfaces within the mouth consist of multiple layers of cells, all of which are designed to tolerate a certain amount of irritation. This toughness and resilience enables us to eat and drink comfortably, whether we are enjoying crunchy tortilla chips or a hot slice of pizza.

Inside the mouth, white lesions are commonly observed in the dental office, but their degree of seriousness can range from completely benign to cancerous (malignant). The expertise of an oral surgeon is the best way to differentiate between the two.


White spots, or lesions, on the soft tissue anywhere in the mouth can be caused by a number of factors. Some lesions are hereditary in nature, meaning that they are more common in certain families, or they are passed down due to certain genetic markers. Other lesions are caused by an injury or an irritation, such as a burn, an abrasion, or a chemical. The third cause of white lesions is related to your physical health. Health conditions and diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or a vitamin deficiency can lead to visible changes in the color and texture of your soft tissues.


The signs or symptoms of your lesion can shed a lot of light as to the cause and also the treatment for the condition. Did the lesion appear after an accident, injury, or a certain food or beverage? Is the white spot on the surface of the tissue or underneath the tissue? Does it go away when it is rubbed with the finger or a soft cloth? Is it bright white or yellowish-white? Is the lesion painful?

The answers to the questions can help to eliminate certain conditions as we narrow down the list of possibilities.


The treatment for a white lesion will depend upon the cause of the lesion as well as the risks associated with it. To confirm the cause and to determine the treatment options, your oral surgeon may order a clinical or surgical biopsy.

For more information regarding white lesions of the soft tissue, please call 312-328-9000 to arrange an appointment today.

Click to open and close visual accessibility options. The options include increasing font-size and color contrast.