Oral Lichen Planus: causes, symptoms and treatment
Oral Lichen Planus is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that affects skin, oral mucosa, genital mucosa, nails and scalp. It usually lasts 10 years and mostly affects adults between the age of 30 and 60. Is it not contagious or hereditary. Oral lichen planus can cause itching and burning sensation in the mouth. This can be very painful. People with Lichen Planus usually recover within a few years, but unfortunately there are cases known with long lasting persistence.
What causes oral lichen planus?
The cause of lichen planus is unknown. Because of this it is difficult to prevent. Lichen planus is a so-called autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a disorder in the inflammatory cells, that should fight off harmful bacteria and viruses It attacks your own skin and mucous membranes. There are cases in which people have this condition after using medicine against high blood pressure, rheumatic problems or heart disease. Also people with amalgam allergies can contract lichen planus.
Oral Lichen Planus Symptoms
Oral lichen planus can manifest in different ways. On the skin, lichen planus appears as clusters of small, itchy, red-purple, flat-topped bumps, usually on the forearms and thighs. In the mouth (also known as oral lichen planus) there are two symptoms to be seen: Reticular lichen planus comes from the lace-like pattern of fine white lines that appear on the inside of the cheeks, gums, and tongue. Usually, this form of lichen planus does not require treatment. It is asymptomatic, and does not hurt.
Erosive lichen planus causes sores, or erosions on the lining of the mouth. Like the reticular form, these sores are to be seen on the cheeks, tongue and gums. Erosive lichen planus usually requires treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a powerful topical anti-inflammatory drug against the pain.
Other known complaints:
- a dry mouth
- metal taste
- bleeding gum
- throat inflammation
Oral lichen planus can cause itchiness and a burning sensation. This can be quite painful.
How to prevent Oral Lichen Planus?
Because the cause of (oral) lichen planus is not known, it is difficult to prevent.
How to treat Oral Lichen Planus?
It can be a very stubborn medicine-resistant condition which can be hard to control through use of medicine. Fortunately, blue®m oxygen fluid has a positive effect on lichen planus or any other auto-immune disease in the mouth.
It is advisable to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption This way the symptoms can be reduced more easily. Also try and avoid sour or spicy foods to decrease the inflammation. Lichen planus can expose you to a higher risk of developing cancer of the mucosa. Be aware of the symptoms and go and see your dentist or specialist in time.
Need advice about taking care of your soft tissues?
Do you experience the negative and painful consequences of lichen planus? Ask our dental hygienist for advice. She can explain in a few simple steps which products work best and how to use them.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Lichen Planus
– Can lichen planus cause cancer?
When you suffer from long term lichen planus there is a higher risk of developing cancer in the mouth. We advise you to always check with your specialist when there is a change in symptoms or severity.
– I have been just diagnosed with Oral Lichen Planus. What’s next?
Lichen Planus is a chronic disorder affecting skin, mouth or genitals, inflicting estimated 1.2 % of the world population.
– Does it spread by touch? Is it contagious?
Oral Lichen Planus is not caused by germs, bacteria, virus or fungus. So it does not spread by touch, sharing utensils or physical contact.
– Can children have oral lichen planus?
Yes, children as young as three years can have Lichen Planus.
– I have it in the mouth. But, I do not have it elsewhere on my body. Is it possible?
Yes. You may get Lichen Planus on one of more parts of the body.