3 Potential Dental Causes Of Uncomfortable White And Red Discolorations On The Soft Tissue

Dentist Blog

Soft tissue in your mouth makes up the important gums, tongue, and inner cheeks and lips. Problems with the soft tissue can often become as concerning and uncomfortable as a cavity in a tooth. If you have suddenly developed uncomfortable white and red discolorations on your soft tissue, panic might set in over the potential cause.

There are three main potential causes of white and red soft tissue discoloration. Here are the details of each and how a visit to the dentist office can help.

Lichen Planus

Does the uncomfortable feeling around the discoloration feel more like an itch than a burning sensation? Does the red and white discoloration pattern resemble the hives that can come out on skin due to an allergic reaction? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, you might have a case of lichen planus.

Lichen planus is thought to be caused by an allergic reaction to medication or a chemical substance, but can also trace back to a systemic illness such as herpes or hepatitis C. If you recently went on a new medication, make an appointment with both your general practitioner and dentist to find out if that medication or another underlying health problem could be causing the lichen planus.

Lichen planus can clear up on its own, though you might request a topical soothing agent to wait out the healing process. For severe cases, your dentist might prescribe corticosteroids to help the healing along. Lichen planus is ultimately harmless, though uncomfortable while present.

Geographic Tongue

Geographic tongue is another discoloring condition that is ultimately harmless but can cause cosmetic issues, and in some cases, discomfort. Geographic tongue causes red and white splotches to form that give the soft tissue of the tongue the appearance of a map.

There is no cure for geographic tongue, which can sometimes go away on its own and never come back. But geographic tongue is frequently recurrent and can appear off and on throughout your life.


Red and white discoloration on the oral soft tissue can sometimes indicate a systemic illness. Lupus is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own healthy tissue in the organs and skin. If your oral discoloration is a sign of lupus, you will likely have additional symptoms throughout your body. Symptoms of lupus include fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash across your cheeks.

There is no cure for lupus, but several drugs exist to help with system management. See your dentist like the one from Apollo Dental Center as soon as discoloration in your mouth appears for early diagnosis in case it is lupus. Getting on medication as early as possible can help you better manage the growing symptoms.


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Dentistry for the Whole Family

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