Burning Mouth Syndrome
Burning Mouth Syndrome

BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME

BMS: The Overview

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is the feeling of hotness on the lips, tongue, palate or all areas of the mouth. It is sometimes regarded as ‘glossodynia’.

This hot sensation is felt when changes occur in the way stimuli (such as taste and temperature) are sent to the brain from the mouth by the nerves. When the brain is unable to interpret these messages (stimuli), there will be a burning sensation and pain. However, this hotness cannot be felt by the touch of hand; and soreness or redness might not be visible.

Many times, burning mouth syndrome is referred to as neuropathic pain because it occurs when the nerves in the mouth are damaged.

BMS: The Causes

There are quite several possible causes for this oral condition even though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the burning sensation of the gums, tongue, palate and other areas in the mouth. The possible causes of burning mouth syndrome include:

  • DRY MOUTH: Your mouth can get dry if there is insufficient saliva to make it stay wet This oral condition can be caused by some certain factors such as diseases affecting the salivary glands, natural hormonal changes or even some medications. When the dryness becomes chronic, you would feel soreness and burning sensations in your mouth.

SOLUTION: You might be advised by your dentist to drink water regularly in order to keep your mouth moist. You dentist might also recommend that you chew on sugarless candy or sugarless chewing gum. A saliva substitute can also be used to counteract the dryness and ensure your mouth is moist and healthy.

  • NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES: The absence of certain vital nutrients can cause sore tongue or burning mouth. When Vitamin B and some minerals such as iron and zinc are deficient in the body, there could be the burning tongue syndrome which will affect your oral tissues.

SOLUTION: Ensure you eat a well-balanced diet that consists of vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, dairy, seeds, healthy proteins and nuts. Your doctor might recommend the use of nutritional supplement.

  • MOUTH IRRITATION: The oral tissues can become irritated by over-brushing your tongue, excessive use of mouthwash, and intake of irritating beverages.

SOLUTION: You should consider taking less acidic drinks, gently brush your tongue, and minimise the use of mouthwash.

  • SIDE EFFECTS OF MEDICATIONS: The use of certain medications can cause the feeling of burning sensation and pain in the mouth. Some medications can cause the mouth to become dry and sore.

SOLUTION: Inform your doctor promptly about the side effects you might be experiencing due to the use of certain medications.

  • CERTAIN ORAL CONDITIONS: Some oral health conditions can make the mouth sore and painful. Oral thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth) and geographic tongue (a condition that coats the tongue like a map) are common oral conditions that could result in burning mouth syndrome.

SOLUTION: Your dentist will assess your mouth, perform certain investigations and also provide the most appropriate solutions to ease the discomfort.

BMS: Who it Affects

Although anyone can have burning mouth sensation, middle-aged or older women are known to experience it the most during menopause.

BMS: The Clinical Manifestations

Burning Mouth Syndrome usually occurs suddenly (that is, it is an acute oral condition). The symptoms of the burning sensation include:

  • A scalding or burning sensation affecting the whole tongue, but could also extend to the lips, gums, palate, throat and the whole mouth.
  • Dryness in the mouth with increased thirst.
  • Frequent changes of taste in your mouth.
  • Inability to taste.
  • Stinging, tingling or numbing feeling in the mouth.

You can experience discomfort all day with varying patterns in occurrence.

BMS: Diagnosis

A thorough examination of your oral cavity (mouth) would be carried out by your dentist to find the possible cause. Your medical history will also be reviewed and you will be referred for necessary investigations such as mouth swabs or blood tests. These investigations are needed to find out if there is an infection, some medical conditions that could have possibly caused burning mouth syndrome, or even nutritional deficiencies.

Allergy testing might also be done by a dermatologist to rule out or confirm if you are reacting to certain substance.

BMS: Treatments

The treatments for burning mouth syndrome depends on the causes. If you are diagnosed with BMS due to nutritional deficiencies, your dentist might recommend the use of certain supplements. Your dentures could be replaced or adjusted; anti-fungal medications could be prescribed for oral thrush.

Low-dose antidepressants and counselling can be recommended in certain cases. Burning Mouth Syndrome can lead to depression and emotional wear down in some individuals due to the daily battle with pain and soreness.

Yoga, relaxation, and hypnotherapy are of great help in people with burning mouth syndrome. These therapies usually help some people cope with anxiety.

How to Ease Symptoms

  • Frequent sipping of water to keep the mouth moist.
  • Suck on crushed ice.
  • Chew sugar-free gum; this will stimulate salivation.
  • Avoid irritants such as mouthwashes, hot and spicy foods
  • Avoid alcohol products and tobacco.

What to Do When You Experience Burning Sensation in Your Mouth

You should, first of all, visit your dentist for a check-up. If it is dental related, appropriate solutions will be provided such as re-fitting of your dentures, prescription of medications e.t.c.

If it not of a dental cause, your dentist will refer you to a doctor so you have a blood test and other investigations will be done to ascertain the cause of your burning mouth syndrome.

How Long Will BMS Affect You?

The exact causes of BMS are unknown, so it is difficult to map out a correct treatment plan for it. Burning Mouth Syndrome is a long term condition that could last for years, if not the rest of your life.

You can, however, find means to cope with and also limit the pain through treatments and certain therapies.

It is necessary for you to keep a record of how different types of treatments affect your symptoms. This will make our dental team have a more informed outlook of the best treatment for you.

WHERE TO GET HELP

When you experience burning mouth syndrome, you will need prompt dental care. You can bank on us at Smile Works Dental to help combat the burning sensations and pain.

You can call us on 020 71834091 to book an appointment with our dental team. You can also visit our Harley Street clinic for further information. We look forward to seeing you.

To fix appointments or make inquiries

Call us on

020 71834091 Book Now
Schedule An Appointment