Low prevalence of oral leukoplakia in a representative sample of the US population

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Recent studies reported a tendency towards a lower prevalence of oral leukoplakia (OL), compared with the past. To assess the prevalence of OL in a representative sample of the US population, data from the oral mucosal tissue assessment and some other covariates of 16128 participants in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) were included. The clinical definition of OL was applied according to the WHO criteria. The weighted prevalence estimates of OL were 0.66+/-0.14% in males, 0.21+/-0.05% in females and 0.42+/-0.08% in total. The age peaks were at 40-49 years in males and at >or=70 years in females. The prevalence estimates were 0.37% for homogeneous OL and 0.06% for non-homogeneous OL. Gingiva (38.8%) and buccal mucosa (30.9%) were the most frequent locations. Compared to previous studies in the USA, a substantial decline of the prevalence of OL was shown.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003