Managing Your Oral Psoriasis Symptoms
Psoriasis symptoms are often evident in the mouth. The soft mucous tissues inside of the mouth make this area of the body susceptible to flare ups of the condition. People often notice symptoms in these areas more frequently due to their extreme discomfort.
Signs of Oral Psoriasis
Oral psoriasis can present itself in several different ways:
- Sloughing gum tissue. Also called desquamative gingivitis, the gum tissue looks as if it is peeling off of the gums.
- Lesions with raised borders. Red patchy areas that are similar to geographic tongue; some tissues may be red without a border.
- Ulcers or pustules.
- Scaled tissues.These may be yellow, grey, or white in color.
Keep Your Dentist Informed
It’s important that you let your dentist know you have psoriasis, so that the oral lesion(s) is not misdiagnosed as another type of pathology. Many dentists feel that the condition is rare, and there are other types of oral lesions that are occur frequently. The dentist may not associate these lesions with a patient having psoriasis. Oral tissues typically have a regenerative time of 28 days, however, people with psoriatic plaques may have a tissue turnover rate that is less than one week.
Avoid stress as much as possible, as it can suppress the immune system and cause symptom flare-ups. Your dentist can help make your visits more comfortable by providing you with nitrous oxide or a light anxiety medication before your appointment. The stress of a dental appointment can cause flare-ups, and they appear to be more prevalent after a trip to the dentist.
Foods that Cause Flare-Ups
Note which foods you’re eating and which toothpaste you’re using, as some types of foods or oral care products can create tissue sloughing or irritation in people with sensitivities to those products. Discontinuing those toothpastes or food items should reverse conditions within one to two weeks. Alcohol, as well as smoking, can cause symptoms to be more prevalent as well. Discontinue or significantly limit your exposure to these influences.
Some patients find it useful to manage their symptoms with topical medications or antiseptic mouth rinses. Avoid using mouth rinses that contain alcohol. You may want to make your own rinse, using 2 or 3 drops of essential oil mixed in a small glass of tap water. If the lesions are painful, mix one part milk of magnesia with one part liquid antihistamine, swish and rinse thoroughly. This “miracle mouth rinse” will temporarily relieve pain and soreness inside of the mouth. This is useful before meals, when eating can be uncomfortable.
Manage Your Overall Oral Health
There may be a link between oral psoriasis and periodontal disease. It’s important that to practice good oral hygiene to prevent complications like gum inflammation and bone loss. Unmanaged periodontal disease can cause psoriasis symptoms to worsen, and may lead to complications including tooth loss.