Purpose: To analyse the taste function in a pool of untreated patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) with tongue lesions (n = 35) and without tongue lesions (n = 36) and to compare it to healthy subjects (n = 36).
Keywords: mucocutaneous disorders, oral lichen planus, taste/taste physiology, tongue
Materials and Methods: Firstly, the subjective overall taste ability and impairment of the sensations of ‘sweet’, ‘sour’, ‘salty’ and ‘bitter’ were recorded in all three groups. Secondly, taste function was tested in all included subjects using the standardised ‘Taste Strips’ test.
Results: Data showed a statistically statistically significant difference in overall taste perception between OLP patients with tongue lesions and control subjects (p = 0.027) for the tested taste function. The sensation of ‘sour’ showed the most pronounced difference (p = 0.08). The subjective taste perception and that of individual taste qualities did not differ statistically significantly between the three groups, and the correlation between subjective and objective taste perception was low. There was also a low correlation between taste scores and the presence of lesions on different areas of the tongue.
Conclusion: For patients with OLP experiencing a loss in appetite, a formal taste examination and subsequent counselling should be considered.