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If your mouth is burning, it could be caused by a number of things. Did you just sample the world’s spiciest pepper? Perhaps it’s a case of burning mouth syndrome. If you have a burning sensation accompanied by white patches on the inside of your mouth, that’s a sign that you should visit your dentist to diagnosis the source. You may have lichenoid mucositis.

Here’s more about the symptoms, causes, treatment and outlook.

Symptoms of Lichenoid Mucositis 

According to the Naval Postgraduate Dental School (NPDS), this type of mucositis is a coverall term for flat lesions that occur on the mucosa, or the lining of the cheeks in the mouth. Oral mucositis is an inflammation of the mucosal membranes of the mouth and surrounding areas, notes the Oral Cancer Foundation. Symptoms include red, shiny gum tissue, a swollen mouth and soreness or pain. Open ulcers on the tongue or gums make it difficult to eat and talk, and people can develop dry mouth combined with increased mucus or thicker saliva. The sores can become infected and produce a white, pus-like substance similar to the lichenoid buildup.

Causes of Lichenoid Mucositis

People can develop types of oral mucositis for several reasons, such as infection, poor oral hygiene and the use of tobacco. Radiation therapy to the head and neck area and particular types of chemotherapy are other causes, says the National Health Service.

Medication side effects can also lead to this condition, according to the NPDS. If your lichenoid mucositis is triggered by medication, it’s more likely to show up as a single lesion instead of several lesions or sores. A review published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology notes that oral lichenoid lesions may be caused by an irritation or allergy to dental materials like nickle, cobalt and potassium dichromate.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Lichenoid Mucositis 

The most challenging aspect of treating this condition is identifying the cause. The Indian Journal of Dermatology notes that oral lichenoid lesions are often mistaken as oral lichen planus. The University of Pennsylvania recommends you see a doctor immediately if you experience weight loss, bleeding gums, a fever, redness or shininess in the mouth that lasts longer than two days, or difficulty eating and swallowing.

Depending on the cause, your dentist may recommend changes to some of your medications or lifestyle. The dentist may suggest a product, such as Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse Alcohol-Free, which is recommended by dental professionals to cleanse and soothe mouth irritations. Remember, your dentist is your dental expert. If you experience any unusual changes in the tissues of your mouth, your dentist will give you the care you need to help you feel your best again.