Disorders of the Tongue, Cheeks, Palate, Lips, Gums

Disorders of the Lips

There are many conditions which may affect the oral mucosa. These include trauma, infection, immunological conditions, congenital conditions and cancer. Also medical conditions may also cause changes in these oral mucosal sites.

Dermatological conditions such as lichen planus, pemphigoid and pemphigus may cause blisters and ulceration affecting multiple sites of the oral mucosa as well as a redness of the gums called desquamative gingivitis.

Gastrointestinal conditions may be associated with oral manifestations. Crohn's disease may be associated with lip swelling, oral ulceration and swellings inside the mouth. Ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease may also be associated with oral ulceration.

Rheumatological conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome may be associated with dryness of the mouth.

Drugs used for treating medical conditions may have affects on the mouth such as dryness of the mouth, changes in taste, lip swelling or causing areas of soreness or ulceration in the mouth.

Haematological conditions may cause manifestation in the mouth. Anaemia may be associated with soreness, ulceration or fungal infections in the mouth. Leukaemia may be associated with swelling or bleeding of the gums. Patients who require chemotherapy may develop considerable soreness and ulceration in the mouth called mucositis. Patients who have had a bone marrow transplant may develop soreness and ulceration due to graft versus host disease.

Diabetes mellitus may be associated with dryness of the mouth, swelling of the salivary glands or fungal infections in the mouth.

Often these oral mucosal conditions can be diagnosed by taking a thorough history including a detailed medical history and by performing an oral examination. Sometimes investigations such as swabs, saliva tests, blood tests, imaging and sometimes a biopsy are required.

Normal gum disease is known as gingivitis. When the structures supporting the teeth are involved the condition is called periodontitis. These common conditions should be managed by the patient's general dental practitioner.