Oral malignant melanomas are uncommon and like other melanomas of the skin they arise from melanocyte cells. Unlike cutaneous (skin) melanoma which are linked to sun exposure, the risk factors for oral melanoma is unknown. We think they arise de novo (from no cause).
Oral melanomas are more common in Japanese race and occur in men more than women (2:1) It is rare in people under 20 and more common in men over 40 years.
Good oral exams by the dentist are always important to identify mouth lesions. Most are benign and many other less serious conditions can cause pigmentation.