What to Do for Lichen Planus of the Mouth?

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A lacy pattern and raised spotted rash on gums, cheeks or tongue, Lichen Planus of the mouth, also known as Oral Lichen Planus, sometimes has no symptoms and needs no treatment. It can resolve spontaneously and reoccur unexpectedly. When Oral Lichen Planus hurts, burns, itches, and bleeds treatment with corticosteroid medications can temporarily relieve symptoms. The cause is unknown but seems to be related to an inflammatory response to infection, food allergies, emotional stress or autoimmune disease. Elimination of the underlying cause, if possible, is the best thing to do for Oral Lichen Planus.

Risk Factors

  • Oral Lichen Planus mostly affects women over the age of 40. It is associated with some autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and myasthenia gravis. Anti-inflammatory, beta blocker, and antimalarial medications are known to trigger some cases of Oral Lichen Planus. This condition is also associated with liver disease, depression, and ulcerative colitis. Rarely, allergy to dental materials may cause Oral Lichen Planus. Some people who have Oral Lichen Planus may also have Lichen Planus on the skin, scalp, fingernails, or genitals.

Food Allergies

  • Untreated food allergies may cause chronic inflammation that affects mucus membranes in the bowel and mouth. Food additives, colors, flavors and preservatives should be strictly avoided as some of these chemicals may be triggers. Common food allergens are wheat, milk, soy, corn, eggs and peanuts. Sensitivity to wheat gluten, found also in barley and rye, is known as Celiac disease. Allergies can be difficult to diagnose; an elimination diet with a careful diary may be the best way to determine offending foods. A low allergy diet of brown rice, quinoa, cabbage family vegetables and canola oil can be tried first and other foods added at two week intervals to see if symptoms improve or worsen. A good naturopathic doctor can give invaluable guidance for this intensive home remedy.

Preventing Complications

  • Things to avoid that may make symptoms worse are spicy or acidic foods, alcohol and tobacco use or injuries such as biting the inside of the cheek or tongue. Treating concurrent candida (yeast) infections can bring relief.
    There is a slight increased risk of mouth cancer in persons with Oral Lichen Planus. Cancer screening should be part of routine doctor visits at least every six months, especially if Oral Lichen Planus affects the underside of the tongue. A nutritious diet rich in cancer-fighting fruit and vegetables is also recommended by experts.
    While there is no cure for Oral Lichen Planus, symptoms can be reduced. See a doctor if increased pain or bleeding occur. Make lifestyle changes to improve general health and seek help for mental and emotional problems.

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