Background Oral mucosal manifestations may be the initial feature, the most florid clinical feature, or the only sign of mucocutaneous diseases.

Methods Sixty adult patients (48 women, 12 men) with oral mucous complaints were referred to and evaluated at a dermatology clinic in a tertiary care hospital in Mexico City between November 1996 and September 1998.

Results The most frequent oral conditions observed were pemphigus vulgaris (18.3%), lichen planus (8.3%), candidiasis (8.3%), recurrent aphthous ulcers (6.7%), herpetic lesions (6.7%), xerostomia (6.7%), and traumatic lesions (6.7%). Oral affection in mucocutaneous conditions was observed in 21 (35%) patients; the diagnosis was based on oral signs in 10 (48%) of these patients. A large number of oral conditions had previously been misdiagnosed.

Conclusions The importance of the diagnosis of oral conditions in dermatology has been underlined in this study due to the frequency and diversity of oral lesions. The benefits of an interdisciplinary approach in the management of patients has been highlighted.