- Burning mouth/tongue syndrome is burning pain in the mouth that may occur every day for months or longer
- The main symptom of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is pain in the mouth that feels like burning, scalding, or tingling. Or, the pain may happen with a feeling of numbness, which comes and goes. Other symptoms include dry mouth or altered taste in the mouth.
- BMS is a painful condition. Usually, the tongue is affected but the pain may also be in the lips or roof of the mouth, or throughout the mouth.
- BMS can last for months or years. Some people feel constant pain every day. For others, pain increases throughout the day. For many people, the pain is reduced when eating or drinking.
- Primary BMS – If tests do not reveal an underlying medical problem, the diagnosis is primary BMS. Experts believe that primary BMS is caused by damage to the nerves that control pain and taste.
- Secondary BMS – Certain medical conditions can cause BMS. Common causes include:
o Tooth grinding or jaw clenching
o Hormonal changes
o Allergies to dental products
o Certain medications, especially those that reduce blood pressure
o Acid reflux
o Yeast infection in the mouth
- DIAGNOSIS – Talk to your dentist first! About one-third of people with BMS have an oral habit such as tooth grinding or jaw clenching that can lead to BMS. Dentists are familiar with oral habits and can help you manage them.
If symptoms persist, further testing may be necessary. Tests may include blood tests, oral swabs, allergy tests, biopsy or imaging tests.
- Helpful Hints: Avoid irritating substances, such as:
o Hot, spicy foods
o Mouthwashes containing alcohol
o Products high in acid, such as citrus fruits and juices.
To help ease the pain of BMS, sip a cold beverage, suck on ice chips, or chew sugarless gum.