The inside of your mouth can be a mysterious place. Between those temperamental gums, your tough but sensitive teeth and the fascinating tongue, it’s amazing how much work your mouth does on your behalf. So, when something isn’t quite right in your mouth, it can be confusing or even scary – especially when there isn’t always an explanation for everything going on.
If you’ve noticed a red spot in your mouth, you may think nothing of it, or maybe it’s cause for concern. Here’s what you should know about what we call erythroplakia.
Erythroplakia is a bright red lesion that stands out from the normal pink or brown of the inside of your mouth. Erythroplakia is typically found on the inside of the cheek, under the tongue or on the roof of the mouth. Most erythroplakia differ in size, so there is no particular shape or size to look for, but due to their bright color and defined borders, most spots of erythroplakia stand out from the rest of the mouth.
It can sometimes be hard to tell if you have erythroplakia because it may not be visible when you open your mouth. Furthermore, unlike other types of mouth sores, erythroplakia may not be painful or feel any different from the rest of your mouth.
While it is not known what specifically causes each case of erythroplakia, there are several lifestyle factors that can increase your risk, including excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Erythroplakia is not usually cancerous, but in about half of all cases it is precancerous, meaning it could possibly turn into cancer. That’s why if you suspect you have erythroplakia, you should contact Dr. Abelar’s office as soon as possible to be evaluated.
It is also important to note that even though you have a red spot in your mouth it may not be erythroplakia at all. Other possibilities include stomatitis, candidiasis or it could be a sign of lupus, a chronic autoimmune illness that occurs when the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks its own healthy tissues.
If you are concerned you have erythroplakia, contact Dr. Abelar’s office at 858-866-9692 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Abelar will check for conditions like erythroplakia at your regular exam, which is one of the many reasons it’s so important to visit us at least once a year!