5 Things Psoriasis Sufferer Need To Know About Oral Lesions

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red patches to form on your skin. It happens because your body makes new skin cells faster than it should, causing patches of excess skin. While it's a skin condition, it can also have effects in unexpected places, like inside your mouth. Psoriasis sufferers can develop lesions inside their mouths; here's what you need to know about this problem.

What are oral lesions?

Oral lesions are abnormalities in the tissue inside your mouth. These lesions include canker sores, painful sores that form on the insides of your cheeks, or leukoedema, blue or white patches on the insides of the cheeks. Lesions such as geographic tongue can also occur; these lesions cause red patches that look like continents to develop on the surface of your tongue.

How common are oral lesions?

Oral lesions are a very common complication of psoriasis. Studies have shown that about 43% of people with psoriasis have some type of oral lesion, while only 17% of the general population does. If you have psoriasis, make sure that your dentist knows about your diagnosis so that they know to check your mouth for lesions more frequently.

Why does psoriasis cause oral lesions?

Researchers still aren't sure how oral lesions and psoriasis are connected, just that they are. Some researchers think that oral lesions are just another manifestation of psoriasis, and have the same cause as the lesions that you see on your skin. Other researchers think that there may be a gene that causes both psoriasis and oral lesions, but this gene hasn't been identified yet.

Are oral lesions serious?

Oral lesions like canker sores or geographic tongue aren't serious, but you still need to see your dentist if you find a new lesion inside your mouth. Harmless lesions can look very similar to more serious problems like oral cancer, so all lesions need to be investigated by your dentist. Your dentist may want to do a biopsy to make sure that your lesion isn't anything to worry about. If the lesion turns out to be something harmless, your dentist can still treat it to ease your symptoms.

How are harmless oral lesions treated?

Oral lesions can be treated in a wide variety of ways, depending on the exact type of oral lesion that you have. Over-the-counter painkillers and mouthwashes that contain anesthetic can help reduce discomfort, and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation. Your dentist may also tell you to avoid spicy or acidic foods since these can irritate your lesions.

Psoriasis has been linked to a variety of oral lesions. If you notice a new lesion inside your mouth, see your dentist right away to make sure it isn't anything serious. 

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