Topic: White Patches
Member # 30
I'm 19, but I think I've made a fatal mistake in not having
a dental check up for 2 or 3 years...
I have white patches in my mouth - inner cheeks, my tongue
is totally white, and one of my tonsils is swollen, and has
an indentation near it. My lips have also been peeling, I
have swollen glands in my cheeks and also have tinnitus. I
never checked for changes in my mouth as I didn't know about
oral cancer, and certainly didn't think anything of the sort
could strike someone of my age who's never drank or smoked.
I've also been getting short of breath recently, and suffering
from acid reflux. No swollen nodes in my neck, but everything
else seems so ominous...If it's cancer, it sounds late stage,
Does anyone have any thoughts?
1 | Registered: Mar 2002 |
Member # 4
First I want to preface this with this statement, no one on
the web is going to be able to diagnose your condition. We
can't see your mouth, can't feel the tissues, and most of
the people you communicate with are not doctors. While some
are highly informed about particular topics (like me) most
are not doctors, as I am not. So given what you have said
in your email, I am going to try to answer your questions,
but this is no substitute for a visit to a doctor and a proper
Having said that, given your numerous symptoms and complaints,
you should see a dentist, perhaps a periodontist or an oral
surgeon, and visit and ENT/otolaryngologist who specializes
in some of the areas that are giving you problems. The longer
you wait the longer things are a problem and may even get
White patches in your mouth fall in to two main categories,
ones you can rub off with your fingernail, and those that
you cannot. If your tongue is all white, my guess is this
is a Candida infection. This is a fungus and it is common
in people under stress, or who have compromised immune systems
from other diseases, or even radiation treatments. Candida
can be cleared up easily with several anti fungal drugs in
a matter of a couple of weeks. The most common drug for this
is Diflucan. Candida may be in the sulcus (the pouch between
your lips and jawbones) as well. You can scrape it off with
your finger nail or a brisk tooth brushing, but it will come
back, until it is treated with an antifungal drug. It is not
life threatening or associated with beginning oral cancers.
The second kind of white patches in your mouth are leukoplakia.
They cannot be rubbed off. These are common in smokers, which
you say you are not, and in people who chew tobacco, (again
in the sulcus areas of the mouth where they keep their chew).
Leukoplakia can later develop into oral cancer, but they do
not always do this. There are some other white areas that
might develop but they are less common, such as lichen planus.
A long white line along your cheeks where your teeth meet,
is most likely a linia alba (white line) this is from contact
with the teeth during clenching and other mouth actions that
you may engage in unconsciously or at night in your sleep.
It is harmless and common. I have this myself. At your age
a swollen tonsil is more likely and infection than a cancer.
I had a cancer which started in my tonsil, but that happened
when I was 48. While it is not impossible for someone your
age to get cancer there, it is highly unlikely, and not commonly
reported in the literature. It is true that some ear and TMJ
problems (the jaw hinge joint) can be related to oral cancer
as can swellings in the tissues of your mouth. But again,
at your age this is unlikely. If you haven't seen a dentist
in a long time, you may have a tooth abscess that is causing
an infection that is causing swelling. This can display symptoms
similar to what you are describing. If you haven't seen a
dentist in a long time, and maybe your oral health isn't that
good, these are all likely scenarios.
You say you saw docs in Jan and Feb, and they were not concerned.
Your correspondence leads me to believe these were general
MD's. Certainly even they, would recognize a Candida infection,
sometimes called thrush, and treat you for it. If they didn't
make this diagnosis or offer you an alternative explanation,
get a new doctor. MD's are not as good at diagnosing oral
problems as dentists, and dentists see things like abcesses,
Candida, TMJ problems, infected salivary glands, etc. all
the time. They will be able to get you the right diagnosis.
As for worrying about your life.......... If your are that
worried, take action. See a dentist. Get a definitive diagnosis.
Don't wander around message boards looking for an answer that
none of us out here can give you. Let someone who is qualified
to do so, look in your mouth. Do this and relax. If you are
not a tobacco user, your odds of having oral cancer, while
not "0," are very small. As for your syptoms being "late stage"
my gut reaction is that many of them are stress related........Get
someone to take a look, information is empowering, and you
will be able to relax about things and what is going on in
your mouth, and perhaps your life.
Brian, stage 3 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director.
"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.
The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a
366 | From: Laguna Beach, CA | Registered:
Mar 2002 |