Oral Lichen Planus
Lichen Planus on tongue
What to look for
The condition is rare and the exact cause is unknown. Most commonly starts as a number of small pale pimples, gradually joining to form a fine, white, lacy network of slightly raised tissue and can also take the form of shiny, red, slightly raised patches. Lichen planus is most commonly found on the inside of cheeks and sides of the tongue. Patients complain of sore mouth, may have dry metallic taste but some also remain unaware of the condition.
Any colour or texture changes to the inside of the mouth that do not clear up within 3 weeks should be referred to a doctor. This disease tends to persist and recur and the effects can best be minimized rather than cured. The initial attack may last for weeks to months, resolve itself and then recur for years. Keep the mouth healthy by regular brushing – if this is painful, use a very soft brush. Anti inflammatory tablets or mouthwash can give some relief.
Age – Generally occurs on or after middle age in women and is less common in children
Medications – drugs treating systemic disease trigger a reaction, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), some antimalarials, drugs for diabetes and for blood pressure.
Allergy – sensitivity to dental materials and chemicals in toothpaste
Viral – This condition has been linked with the human papilloma virus and human herpes
Trauma – from sharp teeth, cheek or tongue biting
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