Burning mouth syndrome is a hot sensation that can affect your tongue, lips, palate, or any other area of the mouth. It’s a complex condition that can feel like burning, scalding, or tingling and could last for months. Individuals could also experience dry mouth or a change in taste along with the pain. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your local dentist as soon as possible.
Burning Mouth Syndrome or BMS occurs when the nerves in the mouth are damaged and changes the way they send messages to the brain. When the brain can’t interpret these messages, it can cause a burning sensation but won’t feel hot to the touch. It’s also possible not to see any redness or soreness in the affected area. Because BMS involves damaged nerves, it’s also referred to as neuropathic pain.
There are two types of BMS. The first type is called Primary BMS and occurs when there is damage to the nerves that govern taste and pain. Primary BMS develops on its own and not from any underlying medical issue. The second type of BMS is called Secondary BMS and develops from other medical issues such as menopause, thyroid disease, diabetes, allergies, dry mouth, yeast infections, nutritional deficiencies, and acid reflux. Other causes of BMS include stress, anxiety, depression, immune system issues, certain types of toothpaste and mouthwash, or poorly fitting dentures.
Because BMS isn’t easily identifiable during an exam, it’s difficult for medical professionals to diagnose it. Dentists who specialize in oral medicine or oral surgery might have an easier time diagnosing BMS. Dentists will review an individual’s medical history and then examine their mouth. They might also order blood tests, oral swabs, allergy tests, salivary flow tests, tissue biopsies, or imaging tests.
Treatments for BMS can vary depending on the type of BMS and the cause. For example, if poor diet contributed to the development of BMS, then a dentist can suggest supplements to take. If poorly fit dentures caused BMS, then dentists can adjust or replace them and prescribe medication if a fungal infection developed. Specialists can also prescribe a low dosage of anti-depressants for individuals suffering from depression. Medication for dry mouth can be prescribed as well. Some other treatments include relaxation, yoga, meditation, and hypnotherapy for individuals suffering from anxiety.
There are ways individuals can help relieve their BMS symptoms, such as sipping water, sucking on crushed ice, chewing sugar-free gum, avoiding things that irritate the mouth, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol. It’s also recommended to avoid foods and drinks high in acid.
If an individual recognizes any pain on the roof of their mouth or tongue, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dental professional to be examined as soon as possible. At McBride Dental, we advise our patients to schedule checkups at least twice a year so that we can assess, diagnose, prevent, or treat any potential oral issues. Our main priority is helping our patients obtain the healthy mouth and beautiful smile they desire. If you’re concerned about your oral health, contact us today at 760-471-1003.