Burning mouth syndrome –BMS is described as a condition in which one feels a burning sensation in their mouth. It can develop anywhere in the mouth and is usually felt at the tongue, roof of the mouth, and lips. Burning mouth syndrome can occur periodically, or may become an everyday problem. This condition can also become chronic.
Knowing the possible causes and treatments of burning mouth syndrome can help one to overcome their condition and find relief. As perAmerican Academy of Oral Medicine – AAOM burning mouth syndrome is found in 2% of the population. BMS is more commonly found in women than in men.
Symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome
BMS symptoms can range from mild to severe and varies from person to person. Many of the people define BMS as a burning sensation in their mouth just similar to the burning sensation one gets by eating hot food. While the other people describe it as a scalding feeling. As for the mild cases, the person may feel numbness or a slight tingling in their mouth. The symptoms of burning mouth syndrome include:
• Loss of taste
• Burning and scalded sensation mostly affect the tongue. Other parts which are affected include lips, throat, gums, palate or maybe the whole mouth.
• The bitter and metallic taste in the mouth.
• Having dry mouth and increased thirst.
The discomfort one gets from burning mouth syndrome has many patterns. This syndrome may:
• Occur each and every day. This will bring discomfort in morning plus the condition worsens as the days pass.
• Occur and disappear.
• Occur at the start of the day and lasts till night.
Whatever way BMS brings you discomfort, it can last for months to years. In some of the cases, the symptoms may appear and disappear on their own and then appears less frequently. However, burning mouth syndrome does not bring any significant physical change in your mouth. A person may find relief from some of the symptoms while eating and drinking.
When Should You Consult a Doctor?
One should consult a doctor or a dentist when he faces discomfort, soreness or the burning sensation in their mouth whether on lips, tongue or gum. Both the dentist and the doctor may work together to conclude the cause of burning mouth syndrome and plan out an effective treatment.
There are many causes of burning mouth syndrome. So depending on the cause, it is divided into two main branches, called primary BMS and secondary BMS.
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Primary Burning Mouth Syndrome
Primary burning mouth syndrome does not have a defined cause. Burning mouth syndrome can itself be a symptom of many other diseases and illnesses. Due to this, diagnosis of BMS is considered difficult and usually is a matter of exclusion. For an authentic diagnosis, your doctor will conduct out the following tests to know the abnormalities in your body:
• Allergy test
• Blood test
• Salivary flow test
• Oral swab
If in case, the burning mouth syndrome is not the cause itself of an underlying disease or illness, your doctor may conduct the diagnosis of primary burning mouth syndrome. This condition does not have an identifiable cause.
Secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome
Secondary burning mouth syndrome in simple words is the opposite of primary burning mouth syndrome that is it does have an identifiable cause. This condition can vary from person to person. The possible causes of secondary burning mouth syndrome include:
• Mouth infection
• Acid reflux
• Dry mouth
• Mineral or vitamin deficiency, like iron, vitamin B, and zinc
• Hormonal changes
Burning mouth syndrome is a rare condition. However, chances of getting it may increase if you are:
• older than 50
• a woman
Burning mouth syndrome occurs spontaneously without any triggering factor. However, there are many factors which increase your risk to get burning mouth syndrome. The factors include:
• recent illness
• wearing dentures
• traumatic life events
• previous dental treatments
• allergic reactions to certain types of food
How Burning Mouth Syndrome and Menopause are Linked?
Burning mouth syndrome is mostly diagnosed in older women, especially who are going through a menopause stage. It is also found in premenopausal women. As per a study, about 18% to 33% of burning mouth syndrome is more commonly found in postmenopausal women.
The primary cause behind burning mouth syndrome is the hormonal imbalance. It is due to a drop in the level of estrogen hormone. A decrease in the level of estrogen causes low saliva production. This causes a metallic taste in the mouth and moreover, it develops a burning sensation in the mouth. Some of the menopausal women are said to have a greater sensitivity to pain.
As burning mouth syndrome and the low estrogen level are associated with each other, then the menopausal women can have relief by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, more studies are needed to be done in order to conclude how effective this therapy is in treating burning mouth syndrome.
Treatment for Secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome
If the doctor is able to identify the specific cause for the occurrence of BMS, he will immediately try to stop the burning sensation in your mouth by treating the underlying disease or illness. Some of the health problems include:
• Mouth infection: The doctor may prescribe a pain reliever or any medication to treat the underlying oral infection.
• Acid reflux: The medications which help to neutralize the stomach acid are prescribed to give the patient some relief from symptoms of BMS.
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• Dry Mouth: To overcome the problem of dry mouth, the doctor will prescribe you some products to increase saliva production. He may also give you vitamin supplements or shots for vitamin deficiency.
Treatment for Primary Burning Mouth Syndrome
If one does not have any underlying health problem, then burning mouth syndrome will resolve itself. In the meantime to have some relief, you can follow up these steps.
• Avoid having spicy foods and hot beverages.
• Suck on the ice cubes to have some relief over the burning sensation.
• Be active and try out different techniques to lessen your stress, for example by yoga.
• Avoid eating acidic foods especially the citrus foods.
• Try to change your toothpaste. If the burning sensation still persists then go for the toothpaste designed especially for the brushing of sensitive teeth or make use of baking soda as a toothpaste.
• Dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in a warm water to rinse your mouth. This paste helps to neutralize the acid and overcome the burning sensation you are facing.
• Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, as it can worsen your condition. Also, check your prescribed medications whether they contain alcohol or not.