Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning Mouth Syndrome can also be related to a condition called Benign Migratory Glossitis.  Many folks suffer from glossitis with no pain, but others (around 2% of the population) have this condition with a resultant burning sensation.  I have several patients that suffer from Burning Mouth Syndrome and it’s difficult to find a consistent treatment regimen.  What works for some, doesn’t work for others.  It’s a constant battle for both me, as the doctor, and the patient, as the sufferer.
For those readers who may not have an extensive oral pathology background, I thought I’d provide the following info.  This is from an article by Jayne Leonard that appeared on
Here is an excerpt that you may find helpful:
A burning tongue, or burning mouth syndrome (BMS), is a condition that causes a sensation of burning in the mouth. People with this condition often describe the burn as feeling similar to a hot drink scald. There are several known causes of BMS, but the reason for its onset can be unclear. The treatment will depend on the cause.

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM), approximately 2 percent of people in the United States have BMS. It can affect the following parts of the mouth:

  • tongue
  • the roof of the mouth
  • inside of the cheeks
  • gums
  • lips

What are the causes of a burning tongue?

Some people with a burning tongue may have scalded their mouth with a hot drink or piece of food, in which case they do not have BMS.

The pain or discomfort of a minor physical burn may remain for several hours or more, but it will typically resolve without treatment.

Causes of BMS

True BMS may be primary, meaning that it results from a direct cause, or secondary, which means that the cause is indirect.

According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, the primary form of BMS results from damage to the nerves that control taste and pain sensations.

Secondary BMS may occur because of other medical conditions or treatments, including:

  • allergies to specific foods or dental products
  • anxiety or depression
  • diabetes
  • dry mouth
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • geographic tongue
  • an underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism
  • medications, such as high blood pressure medicines
  • mouth infections
  • nutritional deficiencies

Other secondary causes may include a person's habits, such as:

  • biting the tip of the tongue frequently
  • consuming too many acidic foods or drinks
  • grinding the teeth on a regular basis
  • overbrushing the tongue
  • overusing mouthwash or abrasive oral hygiene products
  • wearing ill-fitting dentures

In many cases, the cause of BMS is unclear.

The symptoms of BMS, including a burning tongue, may:

  • appear suddenly or develop over time
  • come and go or remain constant
  • be mild, moderate, or severe
  • improve when eating or drinking

BMS commonly affects the tongue, but people may also experience discomfort in the:

  • lips
  • gums
  • throat
  • roof of the mouth
  • inside of the cheeks
  • It is also possible to have symptoms that affect the whole mouth.

Common BMS symptoms include:

  • a burning or scalding sensation in the mouth
  • a bitter or metallic taste
  • a dry mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • increased thirst
  • loss of taste

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