Xerostomia and Salivary Gland Hypofunction in Patients with Oral Lichen Planus Before and After Treatment with Topical Corticosteroids

Hala Al-Janaby1, Haytham El-Sakka1, Manal Masood1, Walimuni Ashani W. Mendis1, Linda M. Slack-Smith1, Richard Parsons2, Agnieszka M. Frydrych1, *
1 School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
2 School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

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Creative Commons License
© 2017 Al-Janaby et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, (M512) 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, Western Australia; Tel: +618 9346 7670; Fax: +618 9346 7666; E-mail:



Oral lichen planus and mouth dryness are common pathoses, yet not entirely understood. These two conditions may be associated, with a few studies investigating the relationship between mouth dryness and oral lichen planus providing conflicting results. None of the studies have explored the specific impact of disease treatment on mouth dryness.


The purpose of this observational before and after comparison study was to examine the effect of treatment of oral lichen planus with topical corticosteroids on mouth dryness.


Nineteen subjects with oral lichen planus were evaluated for the severity of xerostomia using a xerostomia inventory and a visual analogue scale. Stimulated and unstimulated whole salivary flow rates, unstimulated salivary pH and buffering capacity were also measured. All subjects were evaluated before and after treatment with topical corticosteroids.


All subjects reported xerostomia before treatment with topical corticosteroids, with 79% reporting a significant improvement (P = 0.03) after treatment. Topical corticosteroid treatment was not associated with statistically significant differences in stimulated or unstimulated salivary flow rates, unstimulated salivary pH or buffering capacity.


The results of this study suggest that treatment of oral lichen planus with topical corticosteroids may decrease the severity of dry mouth symptoms.

Keywords: Dry mouth, Oral lichen planus, Salivary gland hypofunction, Topical corticosteroids, Xerostomia.