Burning Mouth Syndrome (Glossodynia)

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) describes is a hot feeling or sensation which can  have an affect on your tongue, lips, palate, and all areas of your mouth. This happens when there are changes in the way the nerves in your mouth send messages to your brain – for example, about taste and temperature. 

Some parts of your mouth may feel like they are burning hot they won’t be physically hot, and you may not be able to see any soreness or redness in the areas that are hurting.

BMS is also referred to as called a ‘neuropathic pain’, which is pain caused by nerve damage.

You may have a medical condition underlying your BMS, such as:

  • acid reflux, which is when acid from your stomach comes up into your mouth.
  • thrush, a fungal infection in your mouth, also known as  candida.
  • nutrient deficiencies an example being, when your body does not make or store enough iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.
  • diabetes.
  • thyroid problems.

In some cases, BMS may have multiple causes. 

For some people, the feeling starts in the morning and increases to a peak by the evening.  For many, it disappears in the evening or at least recedes.  Many people experience numbness in the tongue and some have reported constant discomfort, whereas others have said the sensation comes and goes. BMS varies from patient to patient.  

Other Causes 

It’s hard to say exactly the causes but these are some of them:

  • Hormone changes.
  • Stress, anxiety or depression.
  • Problems with your immune system.
  • Nerve damage  and problems with controlling taste or pain.
  • A reaction to products such as  toothpastes or mouthwashes.
  • Dentures that fit poorly or even just  being allergic to the materials used to make them.

Treatments

Treatments for BMS depend on the causes.

If BMS has been encouraged by a poor diet, then your dental team can recommend supplements for you and help.

If the cause is ill-fitting dentures, then your dentist can rectify this.

Because of the constant pain, many experienced doctors may prescribe antidepressants and counselling as many can feel low and anxious with this condition if constant. 

There are many other alternative treatments, including relaxation, yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy, as they have been been found to ease the anxiety many feel with BMS. 

Self-help

You can help to reduce the symptoms:

  • Drink water, sipping it regularly. 
  • Suck on crushed ice to numb the feeling 
  • Avoid hot food and anything that may irritate your mouth
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco, which can cause flare ups due to their potency.