Burning Mouth Syndrome: Causes, Treatments, and Relief Strategies

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Burning Mouth Syndrome Causes & Treatment

Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your mouth, like you just ate something really hot, even if you didn’t? Imagine if that burning feeling lasted for months or even years. This is what people with Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) go through. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore what BMS is, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, the treatments available, and some self-care tips for living with it.

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)?

Burning Mouth Syndrome is a condition where a person feels a burning sensation in their mouth. As a result, you can feel burning of the tongue, lips, gums, inside of the cheeks, and even the roof of the mouth. The burning can be very painful, and you might feel like your mouth is on fire. 

This pain can come and go, or it might be there all the time. Sometimes, people with BMS also have a dry mouth or a bitter or metallic taste.

What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

The exact cause of BMS is often unknown, but there are several things that might contribute to it. Here are some possible causes:

  • Nerve Problems: Sometimes, the nerves in your mouth that send pain signals to your brain may not work properly. This can make your mouth feel like it’s burning.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes, especially in women during menopause, can lead to BMS.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Lack of certain vitamins and minerals, like vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, might cause BMS.
  • Mouth Infections: Infections in the mouth, like yeast infections, can cause burning sensations.
  • Dry Mouth: Conditions that cause dry mouth, like Sjögren’s syndrome or some medications, can lead to BMS.
  • Allergies and Irritants: Allergies to dental materials, foods, or certain substances in toothpaste or mouthwash can trigger BMS.
  • Reflux Disease: Acid reflux, or GERD, can cause stomach acids to come up into the mouth, leading to a burning feeling.

How is Burning Mouth Syndrome Diagnosed?

Diagnosing BMS can be tricky because there isn’t a specific test for it. Doctors usually diagnose BMS by ruling out other conditions. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Medical History: The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health history, and any medications you’re taking.
  • Physical Examination: The dentist near you will look at your mouth carefully.
  • Blood Tests: These can help check for nutritional deficiencies, infections, or other medical conditions.
  • Allergy Tests: These can help find out if allergies are causing the burning sensation.
  • Saliva Tests: These tests can check for dry mouth or other issues with saliva production.

How is Burning Mouth Syndrome Treated?

Treating BMS can be challenging because it depends on what’s causing it. Here are some unique approaches to burning mouth syndrome treatment:

  • Medications: Depending on the cause, doctors might prescribe medications like:
  1. Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  2. Medications that help with nerve pain, like certain antidepressants or anticonvulsants.
  3. Mouth rinses or lozenges that contain anaesthetics to numb the pain.
  • Nutritional Supplements: If a vitamin or mineral deficiency is causing BMS, taking supplements can help. For example, if you lack vitamin B12 or iron, taking these supplements might reduce the burning sensation.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: For women going through menopause, hormone replacement therapy might help balance hormone levels and relieve BMS symptoms.
  • Treating Mouth Infections: If an infection is causing BMS, antifungal or antibacterial treatments can help.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and spicy foods can reduce irritation in the mouth.

Living with Burning Mouth Syndrome: Self-Care Strategies

Living with BMS can be challenging, but there are ways to manage it. Here are some self-care strategies that can help:

  • Stay Hydrated: Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.
  • Avoid Irritants: Stay away from foods and drinks that can irritate your mouth, such as spicy foods, acidic fruits, and carbonated beverages.
  • Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and use mild toothpaste. Avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they can make your mouth dry.
  • Stress Management: Stress can make BMS worse, so practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can help.
  • Chewing Gum: Sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production and keep your mouth moist.
  • Cold Foods and Drinks: Sucking on ice chips or drinking cold water can soothe the burning sensation.
  • Dietary Changes: Eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can prevent deficiencies that might cause BMS.

Contact Inglewood Family Dental

Burning Mouth Syndrome is a painful condition that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. Although it can be challenging to diagnose and treat, understanding the possible causes and exploring different treatment options can help manage the symptoms.

By following self-care strategies, people with BMS can find relief and improve their daily lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of BMS, it’s essential to see an emergency dentist in Calgary at Inglewood Family Dental to rule out other conditions and find the best way to manage the symptoms.


About Author

Dr. Arash Ravanbakhsh is a skilled Calgary dentist passionate about oral health. Graduating from the University of Alberta, he brings advanced dental knowledge to Inglewood Family Dental. Dedicated to patient care, Dr. Arash also volunteers his time on dental missions, improving oral health globally.