Author(s): Chi AC, Neville BW, Krayer JW, Gonsalves WC
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Abstract Careful examination of the oral cavity may reveal findings indicative of an underlying systemic condition, and allow for early diagnosis and treatment. Examination should include evaluation for mucosal changes, periodontal inflammation and bleeding, and general condition of the teeth. Oral findings of anemia may include mucosal pallor, atrophic glossitis, and candidiasis. Oral ulceration may be found in patients with lupus erythematosus, pemphigus vulgaris, or Crohn disease. Additional oral manifestations of lupus erythematosus may include honeycomb plaques (silvery white, scarred plaques); raised keratotic plaques (verrucous lupus erythematosus); and nonspecific erythema, purpura, petechiae, and cheilitis. Additional oral findings in patients with Crohn disease may include diffuse mucosal swelling, cobblestone mucosa, and localized mucogingivitis. Diffuse melanin pigmentation may be an early manifestation of Addison disease. Severe periodontal inflammation or bleeding should prompt investigation of conditions such as diabetes mellitus, human immunodeficiency virus infection, thrombocytopenia, and leukemia. In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, bulimia, or anorexia, exposure of tooth enamel to acidic gastric contents may cause irreversible dental erosion. Severe erosion may require dental restorative treatment. In patients with pemphigus vulgaris, thrombocytopenia, or Crohn disease, oral changes may be the first sign of disease.
This article was published in Am Fam Physician
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases and Diagnosis