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Oral lichen planus – causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 by

Oral lichen planus is an autoimmune disease which is defined as a chronic inflammation of mucous membranes inside the mouth. It causes pain, burning sensation, and discomfort to those suffering from it. Fortunately, this disease cannot be passed from one person to another.

Although one to two percent of the population are diagnosed with oral lichen planus, women are more like to develop it than men. It normally occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

Health experts say it does not have a direct connection to oral cancer, but there are more severe cases when it actually leads to one.

Known risk factors and symptoms of oral lichen planus

Oral lichen planus has different types. Most commonly, it appears as lesions and is characterized by:

  • Lacy, white, raised patches of tissues
  • Red, swollen, tender patches of tissues
  • Open sores

Red, swollen patches and open sores may entail pain or discomfort. Some patients suffer from:

  • Burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to hot, acidic, or spicy foods
  • Bleeding and irritation while brushing the teeth
  • Gingivitis
  • Painful, thickened patches on the tongue
  • Discomfort when eating or speaking

Body systems affected by oral lichen planus

A seemingly simple condition, oral lichen planus requires medical attention as it can lead to further complications. Since it causes pain and discomfort in the mouth area, eating or drinking become difficult which may lead to unwanted weight loss and nutritional deficiency.

There’s also a higher risk of bacterial infections in people with oral lichen planus and an increased risk of secondary yeast or fungal infections. Moreover, it is possible that the affected area may have scarring due to erosive and ulcerated lesions.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent oral lichen planus

Since it has not been discovered yet as to what exactly causes oral lichen planus, there aren’t much food recommendations that can help prevent or relieve the condition. However, there are some foods that can trigger it, such as:

  • Foods that are crispy – This type of foods are said to aggravate oral lichen planus, especially if there are open sores.
  • Drinks with caffeine – Oral lichen planus is also believed to be worsened by drinks with caffeine.
  • Hot foods – Due to the mouth sores, ingesting hot drinks and foods may cause further pain and discomfort.
  • Foods that are spicy, acidic, and citrus – These foods can also aggravate the symptoms of the disease.
  • Alcohol – It is highly recommended to avoid alcohol consumption since oral lichen planus may lead to oral cancer.

Treatment and management options for oral lichen planus

Oral lichen planus is a chronic, autoimmune disease which is why there are no particular cures for it. Instead, treatments are done to help heal lesions and reduce pain and discomfort. The following are some lifestyle and home remedies which can help address the disease.

  • Good oral hygiene – It’s important to keep the mouth clean to reduce the risk of developing the symptoms. Do this by regularly brushing the teeth using organic toothpaste, and by flossing daily.
  • Adjusting your diet – Avoid eating foods which may aggravate the symptoms and choose soft foods and drinks that do not contain caffeine.
  • Avoiding irritants – Drink alcohol in moderation and if possible, quit smoking.
  • Managing stress – Stress can trigger symptoms that’s why it’s vital to always keep the mood in check.
  • Getting regular check-ups – See the doctor or dentist regularly to ensure the health of the mouth.

Where to learn more


Oral lichen planus is an autoimmune disease which causes inflammation in the mucous membranes inside the mouth.

Symptoms of this disease include lesions, burning sensation, discomfort when speaking or easting, bleeding and irritations, and gingivitis. If left untreated, oral lichen planus may cause nutritional deficiency due to difficulty in eating and drinking. Moreover, patients are more vulnerable to bacterial and yeast infections.

Consuming foods that are crispy, hot, spicy, acidic, and drinks that are caffeinated are highly discouraged by health experts as they trigger the symptoms or aggravate them.

Sources include: 1 2


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