Maintaining your oral health is an important part of maintaining your overall health. People often think that this means just taking care of your teeth, but your mouth has many components, any of which could develop issues over time. For instance, many people suffer from linea alba, which is a hardening of the mucosa on the inside of the cheeks. Linea Alba is benign, and presents itself as a white line running along the inside of the cheek where the upper and lower teeth meet. This condition is often related to emotional or behavioral issues, and the resolution of these issues is often involved in the treatment of linea alba.
Symptoms of Linea Alba
For the most part, linea alba has no symptoms other than the white line running along the inside of the cheek. This disease is simply a hardening of your oral mucosa, and there is no pain or discomfort involved. However, it is often a sign of other problems that might need to be addressed.
What Causes It?
When the oral mucosa inside your mouth is irritated on a repeated basis, it can develop a thick layer of keratin. This is what comprises the white line you will see inside your mouth if you have linea alba. One of the primary culprits behind linea alba is frequent chewing on the inside of the cheeks. However, there are other possible causes. For instance, ill fitting dentures, irritating orthodontic appliances or crooked and broken teeth can all result in this condition. Even overly vigorous oral hygiene can cause linea alba.
Who Gets It?
Children are less likely to experience linea alba than adults. In addition, it's also much more common among women than men, and women are more likely to get it because of biting behavior. One study has revealed that some 13% of young men had linea alba. While not included in the study, the percentage among women is likely to be quite a bit higher than that.
Diagnosis and Treatment
After a dental professional (like a dentist or oral pathologist) has diagnosed you with linea alba, they will most likely start treatment by advising you to get rid of whatever irritants or behaviors are causing the condition. Some of the things you might have to do include stopping certain habits, such as biting your cheeks or being overly aggressive in your oral hygiene. Alternatively, your dental professional may have to make adjustments or changes to your dentures and orthodontic appliances (braces). It might also be necessary to repair or remove uneven teeth.
Since some of the reasons for cheek biting might relate to emotional or psychological issues, you may also be advised to schedule an appointment with a counselor or psychiatrist to try to deal with the underlying issues behind the cheek biting. After this, you can follow up with your dentist to confirm whether the condition has improved.