Burning mouth syndrome

What is burning mouth syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome is a complex mouth condition that patients describe as a burning/ tingling sensation in the mouth cavity, although some patients report the sensation in their lips also. Burning mouth syndrome can be the result of a few different causes and is more common in people above the age of 50, typically found in women more than men.

What causes burning mouth syndrome?

The causes of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) are not well understood. It is likely a neuropathic pain, caused by issues in the nerves transmitting taste and temperature information to the brain. There are many conditions which have similar signs and symptoms; hence your dentist or specialist will carry out tests to exclude these. Examples of conditions which present in a similar way are listed below:
  • Oral thrush.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Infections.
  • Blood and vitamin deficiencies.
  • Hormonal changes
  • Nerve changes
  • Psychological factors such as mental health and stress.

How to prevent burning mouth syndrome?

Unfortunately, because the main cause of burning mouth syndrome is not yet understood or known, there are no set preventative measures. If you are struggling with symptoms that are signs of BMS please contact your dentist and make an appointment.  We suggest avoiding the following:
  • Smoking.
  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks.
  • Avoid eating foods that are spicy.
  • Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol in them.

How to treat burning mouth syndrome?

Treatment can be provided for burning mouth syndrome, however, there is no current cure. Medication can be provided to reduce the impact of the condition allowing patients to cope with the symptoms.
  • Oral medications and mouthwashes.
  • Anti-depressants may be prescribed for patients struggling to cope with the mental effects of BMS.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Anticonvulsants, the treatment of neuropathic pain (Used on a limited number of patients).
  • Consuming cooler drinks.
  • Sucking or chewing on ice.

How to spot burning mouth syndrome/ symptoms?

Burning mouth syndrome can present itself as the following symptoms:
  • Tingling or burning feeling in the mouth.
  • Taste in the mouth has changed.
  •  Daily/ Monthly ongoing pain.
  • Pain within the lips, gums, and skin on the inside of the mouth.
Because BMS is not a visual condition the diagnosis/ spotting stage is slightly different. Burning mouth syndrome is mainly diagnosed by excluding other conditions through blood tests, allergy testing, biopsy, imaging, and oral swab tests.

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