What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Have you ever experienced a burning sensation on your tongue, lips, or the roof of mouth? It may feel like it was scalded by boiling coffee, even though you haven’t consumed anything.
This sensation is known as burning mouth syndrome, or simply BMS. You’re not alone if you experience this. Learn what it is, how to deal with it, and whether the condition is potentially dangerous.
Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Deeper Look
People who experience BMS may feel the burning feeling anywhere inside the mouth and even in the throat. An inspection of the mouth, however, reveals no lesions or ulcers. The feeling may worsen as the day progresses.
Experiencers also report feeling dry mouth despite ample saliva flow. BMS may occur intermittently or as often as daily. In some patients, the burning can lead to severe pain and discomfort, in turn leading to an erosion in the quality of life.
What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?
BMS affects women more than men, at a ratio of about 8:1 by conservative estimates. Research suggests the condition may be linked to certain ailments, such as depression, fibromyalgia, and menopause. On a national level, it affects about 2% of the population as a whole, according to The American Academy of Oral Medicine.
Researchers also suspect Burning Mouth Syndrome may be linked to nerve damage in the tongue. More notably, BMS is prevalent in those who incur nerve damage in the tip of the tongue, which is where the bitter taste buds are located.
It’s believed damage to these taste buds causes the pain fibers to activate and fire unexpectedly. In addition, certain medications, particularly antidepressants and hypertension medicine, have also been linked to Burning Mouth Syndrome.
Is Burning Mouth Syndrome Dangerous?
A common question among sufferers is whether BMS can be a precursor to more serious conditions. There’s no evidence suggesting the condition is a symptom of a more severe malady like cancer or organ disease.
However, the condition may indirectly affect other areas of your life, and in turn, take a toll on your physical and mental health. For example, the pain may make it more difficult to eat, leading to unintended weight loss. In turn, this can lead to nutrition deficiency.
Likewise, the pain may make it more difficult to sleep, which causes conditions like insomnia and daytime fatigue. Loss of quality sleep can be a risk factor for a number of issues, such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.
These secondary factors can also have mental and psychological effects. The chronic pain may affect your ability to think clearly, make you anxious, cause depression, or create mood swings.
Treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome
If BMS is recurring, there are certain foods and products that may exacerbate the pain. This includes alcohol, spicy foods, and citrus fruits. Limiting these foods may reduce symptoms. Incorporating Vitamin B12, iron, and folate into your diet may also help, as these nutrients assist in oral health.
Read also: 6 Best Vitamins for Your Teeth
If the condition persists, see your local dentist. The condition may be connected to oral conditions, such as teeth grinding or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, more commonly known as jaw pain.
Your dentist may prescribe prescription mouthwash containing pain-relieving formulas like lidocaine, diphenhydramine, and topical steroids. Some clinicians may also suggest that patients create a homemade mouthwash using a simple mixture of water and crushed capsaicin.
Seek Treatment from a Dentist Today
While not dangerous, BMS can certainly make day-to-day living far less pleasant. If home remedies fail, the next course of action is to seek an affordable dentist near you, such as Maestri Family Dental.
Your local dentist may be able to identify an underlying cause and provide a remedy to eliminate or at least reduce pain symptoms. If you have any further questions about Burning Mouth Syndrome, contact Maestri Family Dental today!