Oral psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis that develops inside your mouth. Symptoms include mouth sores, patches or pustules on the tongue, and gum peeling.
Psoriasis causes skin inflammation and symptoms such as itching, redness, and peeling. Oral psoriasis is a rare type of psoriasis that affects your mouth. Most people who develop oral psoriasis already know they have psoriasis.
Oral psoriasis causes symptoms such as ulcers, redness, gum peeling, and raised patches inside the mouth. It normally occurs along with an outbreak of another type of psoriasis.
This article reviews symptoms and pictures of oral psoriasis, as well as treatment options.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition that most people know as causing itchy and scaly skin patches. While this accurately describes the most common type of psoriasis — plaque psoriasis — it does not describe every psoriasis symptom or type.
While psoriasis most commonly affects the skin, it can rarely affect organs, joints, and even the inside of the mouth.
When psoriasis affects your mouth, it typically develops on the cheeks and tongue. This is called oral psoriasis.
Oral psoriasis is rare. Most cases of oral psoriasis are linked to pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis, which are both uncommon forms of psoriasis. The most common type of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, doesn’t cause oral psoriasis.
Psoriasis inside the mouth typically only develops in people who already have psoriasis. It usually happens in people who have severe pustular psoriasis.
If you have oral psoriasis, you will develop oral lesions and other symptoms inside your mouth. You might develop all or just a few of the possible symptoms.
Symptoms of oral psoriasis
Symptoms of oral psoriasis can vary but include:
- patches with raised yellow or white borders
- itchy patches
- raised and scaly lesions on the inside of your cheeks
- mouth ulcers
- redness of the lining of your mouth
- peeling gums
- a burning feeling on your lips
- sensitivity after eating spicy or acidic foods
- red patches on the top of the tongue
- grooves or furrows on the top of the tongue
Pictures of oral psoriasis
The following slideshow includes images of oral psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks healthy skin cells, producing new skin cells too rapidly. Currently, researchers don’t know exactly what causes psoriasis, but genetics and environmental factors play a role.
Although exact causes are not fully understood, psoriasis is linked to the following risk factors:
- a family history of psoriasis
- heavy alcohol consumption
- exposure to pollution
- certain medications
- prolonged infections
- damage to the oral cavity
Treatment can help keep someone with psoriasis in remission longer. Flare-ups are often caused by psoriasis triggers. These can include environmental factors such as smoking, stress, illness, and medication changes.
Oral psoriasis flare-ups seem to be the same as skin psoriasis flare-ups.
In many cases, oral psoriasis can be diagnosed through a visual exam. Since most people who develop oral psoriasis already know they have psoriasis, a doctor can often examine the lesions in their mouth and make a diagnosis.
In some cases, a biopsy might be ordered to help confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy is done by removing a small tissue sample from one of the lesions. The sample will then be sent to a lab so that other conditions can be ruled out.
Oral psoriasis often heals on its own without treatments. The skin inside the mouth regenerates very quickly. This leads to symptoms resolving very fast.
When treatment is needed, options include:
- antiseptic mouth rinses
- topical corticosteroids
- immunosuppressant medications
- prescription-strength vitamin A (acitretin) medication
Biologic therapies are another possible treatment option, but these are usually used for skin or bone involvement.
You might use just one of these treatments or a combination as part of an overall treatment plan.
You can learn more about oral psoriasis by reading answers to some common questions.
How long does it take for oral psoriasis to go away?
Oral psoriasis typically heals on its own very quickly. It does not cause permanent damage. However, psoriasis is a chronic condition that can come and go unpredictably.
You can work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that can manage your symptoms and flare-ups.
Does oral psoriasis cause external mouth sores?
Oral psoriasis refers to psoriasis inside the mouth. This includes the tongue and the inside of the cheeks and lips. Sores on the inside of the lips might be visible in a mirror, but they will be inside your mouth, not surrounding it.
That said, oral psoriasis almost always occurs at the same time as external psoriasis outbreaks. So you might have external mouth sores at the same time.
Do outbreaks of oral psoriasis occur at the same time as outbreaks of skin psoriasis?
Yes. Outbreaks of oral psoriasis nearly always occur at the same time as outbreaks of skin psoriasis.
Is oral psoriasis contagious?
No, oral psoriasis is not contagious. It is an inflammatory condition that cannot be passed to others.
What triggers oral psoriasis?
It might take time to find your exact psoriasis triggers. Triggers are individual and vary from person to person.
Read this article to learn about common psoriasis triggers.
Oral psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis. It most often occurs in people who also have pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis.
Oral psoriasis causes symptoms such as mouth sores, gum peeling, patches and pustules on the tongue, and oral sensitivity.
Symptoms of oral psoriasis can resolve on their own quickly. When they don’t, treatments such as mouth rinses, topical creams, and oral medications can help resolve the symptoms sooner.