What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
When you think of ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’, you may think of the time you ate screaming hot chicken wings or a jalapeno pepper. There is actually a real condition though called ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘glossodynia’.
What is Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)?
It is a hot sensation or feeling which can affect your lips, tongue, palate, and all other areas of your mouth. It is often described as feeling like you scalded your mouth (from drinking hot coffee or eating food before it cools off to a safe temperature for example). It’s definitely not a walk in the park to have this condition and can be quite uncomfortable and lead to frustration.
Other symptoms of BMS may include:
- Tingling or numbness of your mouth or tongue
- A bitter or metallic taste
- A dry or sore mouth
What causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?
It is caused from changes in the way that the nerves in your mouth send messages about things like taste and temperature to your brain. (Which is why it is also sometimes called ‘neuropathic pain’.)
When your brain doesn’t understand these messages properly, it may cause the feeling of burning and/or pain. It is interesting to note that parts of your mouth that feel like they are burning will not be hot to the touch. There may also not be any redness or soreness.
Other possible causes of BMS (aside from nerve damage) include:
- Hormonal changes
- Weakened immune systems
- Poor fitting dentures
- Allergies to dental work or appliances
- Acid reflux
- Dry mouth
- Nutritional deficiencies
- A fungal infection of the mouth (thrush / candida)
- Thyroid problems
Can anybody get Burning Mouth Syndrome?
It is most common in middle-aged or older women who are going through menopause…although other people can suffer from it as well.
Do people get it at a certain time of day?
For some people it starts in the morning and peaks in the evening. Others may have it all the time. Some have it here and there.
How is Burning Mouth Syndrome diagnosed?
- Oral examination
- Investigate medical history
- Blood tests
How can I ease the symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome at home?
- Ongoing consumption of water
- Suck on crushed ice
- Sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva
- Avoid things that may irritate your mouth such as strong mouthwashes or toothpastes, hot and spicy foods, and anything acidic
- Refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking (which is a healthy habit for anyone)
Visit your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect you may have Burning Mouth Syndrome (or just whenever you feel as though something feels strange).
If you think you may have burning mouth, book an appointment with your dentist. You will be able to sit down with them and explain all of your symptoms and have them examine you and/or also refer you to a specialist.
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