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What is Oral Lichen Planus? Symptoms and Treatments


Oral Lichen Planus (OLP) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membranes of the mouth. It is a relatively common condition, affecting around 1-2% of the general population, and is more common in women than in men. The exact cause of OLP is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the mouth.

Symptoms of Oral Lichen Planus The symptoms of OLP can vary depending on the severity of the disease. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, while others may have severe pain and discomfort. Common symptoms of OLP include:

  • White, lacy patches on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, and gums
  • Redness and swelling of the affected areas
  • Pain or discomfort while eating, drinking, or brushing teeth
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Altered taste sensation

In some cases, OLP can lead to complications, such as an increased risk of developing oral cancer.

Diagnosis of Oral Lichen Planus Diagnosis of OLP usually involves a physical examination of the mouth by a dentist or oral surgeon. A biopsy of the affected tissue may also be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.

Treatment of Oral Lichen Planus There is no cure for OLP, but treatment can help alleviate the symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment options for OLP may include:

  • Topical corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation and relieve pain
  • Oral corticosteroids, which may be prescribed for more severe cases
  • Immunosuppressant drugs, which can help to control the immune system and reduce inflammation
  • Antihistamines, which can help to reduce itching and swelling
  • Topical anaesthetics, which can provide temporary relief from pain and discomfort
  • Phototherapy, which uses ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation
  • Avoiding foods and drinks that may irritate the mouth, such as acidic or spicy foods
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, and using mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection

In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes such as avoiding tobacco and alcohol use and managing stress levels may also help to improve symptoms of OLP.

Oral Lichen Planus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membranes of the mouth. While there is no cure for OLP, treatment options are available to help alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. If you are experiencing any symptoms of OLP, it is important to seek medical attention and get a proper diagnosis to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

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