Burning Mouth Syndrome: Insights from an Orofacial Pain Specialist

Apr 12, 2024

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is a perplexing condition that affects many individuals, yet it remains relatively unknown and misunderstood. In this blog post, we aim to provide some clarity on this condition, its symptoms, potential causes, and available treatment options.

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

BMS is a chronic condition characterized by a scalding or burning sensation in the mouth, often without a clear cause. It can affect various parts of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, gums, palate, or the entire oral cavity. The discomfort or pain associated with burning mouth syndrome can be constant or intermittent, persisting for months or even years. It may worsen throughout the day, and may be accompanied by tingling, numbness, dry mouth, loss of taste, or a metallic taste. It is often described as a similar sensation to injuring your mouth with a very hot drink. Certain factors, such as eating spicy foods or consuming hot beverages, may exacerbate the burning sensation.

Other symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst.
  • Difficulty eating, drinking, or speaking due to discomfort.
  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability stemming from chronic pain.

One of the challenges in diagnosing BMS is that, despite the discomfort reported by the patient, there may be no visible signs of irritation or abnormalities in the oral tissues.

Potential Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome

The exact cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome is not always clear, and it may result from a combination of factors. Possible contributing factors include:

Oral Health Conditions: Underlying oral health issues such as dry mouth, oral infections, or dental conditions like thrush (oral candidiasis) may trigger BMS symptoms. Some data suggests there is a possible relationship between Burning Mouth Syndrome and Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). Individuals with TMD may experience burning mouth sensations as a secondary symptom, particularly if muscle tension or nerve sensitivity affects the oral cavity.

Nerve Damage: Dysfunction of the nerves that control taste and pain sensations in the mouth may play a role in BMS development.

Systemic Factors: BMS has been associated with certain systemic conditions such as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies (e.g., vitamin B12 or iron), diabetes, or autoimmune disorders.

Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, or depression.

Burning mouth syndrome is uncommon. However, your risk may be greater if you’re:

  • Female
  • In perimenopause or you’re postmenopausal
  • Over the age of 50
  • A smoker

Burning Mouth Syndrome Treatment

If left untreated, BMS can disrupt your sleeping and eating habits due to exacerbated discomfort or pain, which can potentially lead to further health complications. Due to the elusive nature of BMS, a thorough, multidisciplinary approach to treatment is necessary. Dr. Daia is equipped to provide neurological evaluation and mostly non-invasive treatments.

If you are experiencing persistent oral discomfort or any of the symptoms mentioned, book your free consultation, and receive a professional evaluation from Dr. Daia to determine the cause and appropriate management plan for your specific situation!

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Dr. Daia is fully equipped to provide prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders so you can live a pain-free, healthy life.

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