What Is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

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Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic condition which can affect the tongue, palate, and other oral tissues in the mouth. This syndrome creates a constant burning sensation, which can feel uncomfortable and even painful. Learn more about BMS below.
Causes Of BMS
Burning mouth syndrome happens when the brain doesn’t understand signals coming from the nerves in the mouth. There is no known cause for this, though a few possible causes are believed to be:

  • Hormone changes (like menopause)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • An allergic reaction
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Dry mouth
  • Acid reflex
  • Diabetes
  • A fungal infection (like thrush, oral lichen planus, or geographic tongue)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Badly fitting dentures
  • Excess irritation to the mouth
  • Certain medications

Symptoms Of BMS
The most common symptom of burning mouth syndrome is, obviously, the burning sensation in the mouth (which often feels like the mouth has been scalded by a hot food or drink). Other symptoms may include:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Sore mouth
  • Bitter or metallic taste in the mouth

Treatments for BMS
Because there is no known cause of burning mouth syndrome, it can be difficult to treat. See your dentist first so they can determine if the BMS is a result of a dental problem; they may recommend seeing a physician if they cannot find the cause. Treatment for BMS often involves treating another medical problem, though ways you can eases BMS symptoms include:

  • Sipping water
  • Sucking on ice cubes
  • Chewing sugar-free gum (to prevent dry mouth)
  • Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and foods which are hot, spicy, or acidic (to avoid irritating oral tissue)