When psoriasis develops in your mouth, it can lead to serious dental problems. Learn to identify the symptoms to keep your mouth healthy!
Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin disease that tends to go through cycles with periodic flare-ups. People who live with it are familiar with its external symptoms, including the appearance of itchy, inflamed patches of dry, cracked skin. In addition to the more visible areas of the body that psoriasis can affect — like the scalp, knees, and elbows — it can also manifest in the mouth. That manifestation can lead to a variety of serious dental problems if left untreated. Luckily, knowing how to identify the symptoms and taking steps to treat them can keep your mouth healthy.
Oral Psoriasis: What Is it and What Are the Symptoms?
Oral psoriasis is just one of the manifestations of psoriasis. While psoriasis often only presents on your skin, it can present inside your mouth because oral tissue is actually quite similar to skin tissue. When that occurs it is often called “oral psoriasis” even though the condition is part of a larger psoriasis diagnosis.
The most common symptoms of oral psoriasis are:
- Irregular red patches or dots with raised yellow or white borders (this is the most common symptom)
- Redness of the oral mucosa
- Peeling gums, also known as desquamative gingivitis
Psoriasis and Dental Problems
While it is still unclear exactly how psoriasis is connected to dental problems, one thing that’s obvious is that untreated oral psoriasis can lead to some serious issues. The main ones are:
Gum disease (periodontitis): If you have psoriasis, you have a higher risk of developing gum disease. Gum bleeding after brushing your teeth or probing your gums (which is a common sign of gum disease) is also more common among people with psoriasis. Unfortunately, gum disease can lead to a number of further dental issues. It can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, causing your teeth to loosen or even fall out.
Tooth loss or decay: In addition to the potential tooth loss that is tied to gum disease, psoriasis has also been shown to increase the chances of general tooth loss and decay even without gum disease. This may be because people with psoriasis tend to have more acidic saliva, which can cause teeth to lose minerals and in turn lead to tooth decay.
Bad breath: While the specific relationship between psoriasis and bad breath hasn’t been studied, psoriasis is associated with a number of conditions that can cause bad breath.
Tips for Optimal Dental Health with Psoriasis
If you have psoriasis, it’s extremely important that you follow the treatment plan set out by your dermatologist or primary care physician. Treating your general psoriasis can also improve the symptoms of your oral psoriasis.
Apart from that, the tips for optimal dental health with psoriasis are largely the same as those for optimal dental health in general. You should:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and make sure you floss daily.
- Visit your dentist regularly — at least once a year, but more frequently is better if you have oral psoriasis and are thus at risk for dental diseases.
- Avoid acidic food and drinks, including those that are sour, carbonated, and citrus-flavored.
When to See a Dentist
Staying on top of your oral health is particularly important if you have psoriasis. If you notice symptoms of oral psoriasis, it’s a good idea to visit a dentist right away. They can properly diagnose your condition and determine the best treatment plan. It’s particularly critical that you see a dentist right away if you notice you have red, swollen, or bleeding gums, loose teeth, mouth sores, or constant bad breath.
At Espire Dental in Norman, OK our team is ready to create the best possible care plan for your oral psoriasis. With our focus on mutual trust and excellent customer service, you can feel confident you’re getting dental care that puts you first. Schedule your appointment today!