Oral Lichen Planus

What is Oral Lichen Planus?

Oral lichen planus is an inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membranes inside the mouth. It can appear as white patches or sores on the tongue or cheeks that may cause pain or discomfort. It is not contagious and is not caused by anything you may have eaten. It is a chronic, long-term condition that is not life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable.


The most common symptoms of oral lichen planus are white patches, redness and lesions inside the mouth. These can cause soreness, burning, and a bitter taste. Sometimes the lesions may become larger and join together, or there may be ulcers present. In some cases, there may be no pain or discomfort associated with the disease.


The exact cause of oral lichen planus is still unknown. It may be related to allergies or autoimmune disorders. Chemical toxins, viral infections, or hormonal changes may also be involved. Stress is thought to be a factor as well, as many cases have been reported after stressful situations.


Treatment for oral lichen planus is aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing the lesions from getting worse. Most cases can be effectively managed with topical or oral medications. Typical treatments include topical corticosteroids, antifungal or antibacterial medications, and immune-modulating agents. Additionally, stress reduction and avoidance of irritating foods or beverages may help.


Some cases of oral lichen planus may be complicated by the development of oral cancer. White patches that do not improve or go away after two weeks should be assessed by a doctor. Additionally, some cases of oral lichen planus may be associated with other conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or allergies.


People with oral lichen planus should avoid foods and beverages that may irritate the lesions, including spicy or acidic foods and drinks, as well as alcohol and tobacco. Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and regular exercise, may help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, regular visits to a dentist for examination and regular brushing and flossing may help to prevent the disease from getting worse.


There is no known way to prevent oral lichen planus, as the exact cause is still not understood. However, taking steps to reduce stress and avoid irritating foods and beverages may help to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Additionally, regular visits to a dentist can help to detect the disease early, if it does develop.