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How Can Psoriasis Affect Your Dental Health?

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If you have developed small lesions in your mouth or on your tongue, you'll want to reach out to your dentist to get checked out for psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes rapid turnover of skin cells, which can end up causing the buildup of rough, itchy patches of skin. Although psoriasis is a lifelong condition, its symptoms can be managed with prevention methods and medication. Read on to learn more.

What Causes Oral Psoriasis?

Researchers aren't sure of the exact cause of oral psoriasis, but it may be linked to genetics or certain triggers, like smoking, medication changes, etc. One study found that people with gum disease are also more likely to develop oral psoriasis, although causation hasn't been established.

How is Oral Psoriasis Diagnosed?

A person with oral psoriasis may have a fissured tongue, irregular coloring of the tongue, rashes inside the mouth, loss of taste, itchiness, and/or bleeding gums. Since many of these symptoms are similar to other oral health conditions, like canker sores, gum disease, thrush, cancer, etc., it's important to visit your dentist for a firm diagnosis. He or she will perform a physical exam and take a biopsy, or a small tissue sample, that can be analyzed by a laboratory to rule out other issues.

How is Oral Psoriasis Treated?

If you are diagnosed with this condition, your treatment method will depend on the severity of the condition, your current health needs, and your dentist's recommendations. For instance, if you only develop psoriasis flare-ups when you eat spicy foods, then you may need to alter your diet and avoid certain ingredients.

Mild cases of oral psoriasis can be managed with topical steroid creams that are safe for lips and/or oral medications with anti-inflammatory properties. These medications can reduce pain and inflammation related to oral psoriasis. If you have a more severe case of oral psoriasis, or your psoriasis affects other areas of the body, then your dentist might recommend stronger medications, like immunosuppressants.

In general, staying hydrated can help reduce the severity of psoriasis flare-ups, so you and your dentist will want to make sure that current medications aren't causing xerostomia or dry mouth. Mouthrinse can help soothe psoriasis symptoms, but they should be alcohol-free so that they aren't drying out your mouth too much.

As previously mentioned, inflammatory diseases like gum disease may have a link to oral psoriasis, so it's important to practice good oral hygiene at home and stay on top of regular dental cleanings.

Contact a general dentist in your area today to make an appointment.