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Burning Mouth Syndrome: Overview, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Written by Danica Lacson on September 28, 2018

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome pertains to the burning pain felt in the mouth and this may take place daily for several months or even longer. .

What causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

The causes of burning mouth syndrome can be classified depending on its type which can either be primary or secondary.

Primary burning mouth syndrome points to the condition wherein no clinical or lab abnormality was identified. With this, the cause of the condition may be in relation to problems with the taste and sensory nerves of the central or peripheral nervous system.

Meanwhile, secondary burning mouth syndrome refers to the condition where burning mouth syndrome was caused by an underlying medical condition such as dry mouth, oral thrush, nutritional deficiencies, dentures, allergic reactions, gastroesophageal reflux disease, certain medications, tongue thrusting, endocrine disorders, excessive mouth irritation, and psychological factors like anxiety or depression.

What are the symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Without a doubt, the principal symptom of BMS is mouth pain that is characterized as scalding, burning or tingling. At times, the pain may be a feeling of numbness. Meanwhile, a person suffering from BMS may also experience altered taste in the mouth as well as dry mouth.

This is known as an excruciating condition and typically the tongue is greatly affected. However, the pain might also be felt in the roof of the mouth, in the lips or all through the mouth. It can actually last for many months and sometimes this may also take years.

There are some people who suffer from constant pain daily while others suffer from increasing pain all through the day. To many, the pain is lessened when drinking and eating.

How is Burning Mouth Syndrome diagnosed?

Burning Mouth Syndrome is complex to detect. Moreover, one of the many reasons why it is so is because people suffering from this condition usually do not have mouth problem which the dentist or doctor can see at the time of examination.

So, often times, the dentist or doctor may refer their patient to a specialist. People who specialize in diagnosing this condition compose of dentists who specialize in oral surgery or oral medicine. On the other hand, other specialists comprise of doctors who are regarded as throat, nose and ear specialists, dermatologists or gastroenterologists.

The doctor or dentist will go over your medical history and he/she will also examine your mouth. Several examinations may be required and these include:

  • Salivary flow test
  • Oral swab tests
  • Imaging tests
  • Biopsy of tissue
  • Allergy tests
  • Blood exams to check for the particular medical issue

What are the treatment options for Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Doctors are the right people who can offer you great relief. The medicines they prescribe are specially formulated to aid relieve dry mouth and control pain. Since burning mouth syndrome is a complicated pain disorder, the treatment that wonderfully works for one individual may not precisely work for the other.

It is very fundamental to note that the symptoms of secondary burning mouth syndrome vanish when the underlying medical condition like a yeast infection or diabetes is carefully treated. Your doctor may change the medicine he/she prescribed if the drug is causing secondary burning mouth syndrome.

By simply making some simple changes, burning mouth syndrome can be relieved:

  • Chew sugar-free gum especially those that are sweetened with Xylitol.
  • Stop utilizing oral rinse that contains alcohol.
  • Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Stop utilizing toothpaste that has sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Avoid beverages that contain high acids like soft drinks, coffee, and fruit juices
  • Make use of water and baking soda when you brush your teeth.
  • Suck on ice chips or sip water.
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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