Oral lichen planus is a change in the mucous membrane of the mouth. The change can be varied. The disease usually begins in the form of a series of small, pale pimples that gradually blend into a thin, white, net-like lacy lines of somewhat elevated tissue. In some cases the disease takes the form of shiny, red, slightly elevated stains.
Changes usually occur on the inside of the cheek and lateral on the tongue. Some patients complain about wounds in their mouths, and some about the dry, metal taste; in some cases the patients are not even aware of having a lichen planus.
Oral lichen planus may be the result of emotional stress, irritated spots in the mouth (for example, due to bad dental plate) or poor oral hygiene. However, the cause is often unknown.
Oral lichen planus is rare. The illness can affect every adult, though it most commonly occurs in middle-aged and older women. Half of these cases have lichen planus on the skin (see lichen planus article).
What to do?
If you notice any change in color or a shape on the mouth mucosa, and the change lasts longer than three weeks, go to a doctor who will examine you and determine if you have a lichen planus. The best cure for this disease is maintaining the mouth hygiene, i.e. brushing teeth and gums twice a day.
If you feel the pain while brushing teeth and gums, try using a soft toothbrush and handle it with care. If you have a dental plate, let the dentist check to make sure that it fits well. If this condition irritates you, your doctor will prescribe tablets or mouthwash with anti-inflammatory corticosteroid medication.
You will take those tablets (or clean your mouth with mouthwash) every few hours. With such treatment, affected areas will usually be reduced and disappear completely after a few days.