Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is an oral potentially malignant disorder (OPMD) associated with prolonged betel-quid (BQ) use. It affects both physiological and psychological dimensions, leading to a significant morbidity. Some challenges in OSF research include: Assessment and correction of: (i) Quality of life, (ii) burning sensation, and (iii) nutritional deficiency. There are numerous medical treatments for OSF, but most of them fail to offer complete rehabilitation. This is because some underpinnings of this condition like “mental factors” that contribute to habit continuation at root level, “poor quality of life,” and “nutritional deficiencies” are still uncorrected. We believe that OSF must be managed at the “mind and body” level to accomplish holistic rehabilitation.
Herein, we briefly describe the general condition of OSF patients, and highlight the possibility of a novel telomere-based assessment of psychosocial stress, and support use of meditation to counter excessive “telomere shortening” which is linked to oral cancer. We also expand the current view on “burning sensation” in OSF from an entire physical concept to a possibility of mental factors, and finally recommend rich, micronutrient supplementation (through diet) to counter free radical production within the hypoxic oral epithelium.
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