Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic disease of uncertain etiology, although it is generally considered as an immune-mediated disease that affects the mucous membranes and even the skin and nails. Over the years, this disease was attributed to a variety of causes, including different types of microorganisms. This review analyzes the present state of the art of the disease, from a microbiological point of view, while considering whether or not the possibility of a microbial origin for the disease can be supported. From the evidence presented here, OLP should be considered an immunological disease, as it was initially proposed, as opposed to an illness of microbiological origin. The different microorganisms so far described as putative disease-causing agents do not fulfill Koch's postulates; they are, actually, not the cause, but a result of the disease that provides the right circumstances for microbial colonization. This means that, at this stage, and unless new data becomes available, no microorganism can be envisaged as the causative agent of lichen planus. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.