Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) refers to the condition of having painful and often scalding sensation in the tongue, lips, or throughout the inside of the mouth. While this condition can affect almost anyone, middle-aged women are most likely to have it. This can also occur with various medical and dental conditions as well as be caused by nutritional deficiencies and allergies.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom of BMS is moderate to intense burning inside the mouth, as described here:
- This can persist for months or even up to many years.
- Some people would feel consistent pain while for others the pain comes and goes.
- For most people affected by this condition, the burning sensation starts in the late morning, heightens in intensity by evening and then subsides at night.
People suffering from BMS often have anxiety and depression. This results from their chronic pain.
Other signs and symptoms of BMS include:
- tingling or numbness inside the mouth or on the tip of the tongue
- bitter or metallic changes in taste
- dry or sore mouth
This condition has various causes.
- acid reflux
- hormonal changes
- nutritional deficiencies
- poorly fitted dentures
- allergic reaction to the materials used in making the dentures
- damage to the nerves responsible for controlling pain and taste
- dry mouth, which can be caused by some medications and disorders such as Sjögren's syndrome or diabetes
- oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth
To diagnose the disorder, the doctor will review your medical history and have you undergo oral examination and general medical examination. This will help identify the cause of the condition.
Examples of tests include:
- oral swab to detect oral candidiasis
- blood work that can indicate infections
- nutritional deficiencies and disorders linked to BMS
- allergy testing for denture materials, foods and substances
Treatment would depend on the root of BMS.
Common treatment options include:
- adjustment or replacement of irritating dentures
- treatment of disorders like diabetes or Sjögren's syndrome
- taking of supplements for nutritional deficiencies
- changing of medication
- medications for dry mouth
- treatment of oral candidiasis
- treatment of anxiety and depression
- pain relief for nerve damage
Some Helpful Tips
At home, you can try these self-care tips to relieve the symptoms that come with the burning mouth syndrome:
- Sip water or suck on ice cubes frequently. This will counter the burning sensation inside the mouth.
- Avoid any irritating substances, such as hot and spicy foods, mouthwashes that have alcohol, and acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices.
- Chew sugarless gum
- Avoid alcohol as well as tobacco products
- Brush teeth or dentures with baking soda and water
- Be sure to talk to your dentist and doctor to minimize the problems that come with this condition.