We all hate it; that moment you sip your coffee too soon and end up with a scalded tongue or lip. While this is a normal response to consuming foods or drinks that are too hot, there are some people who suffer from this burning sensation nearly all of the time. Burning Mouth Syndrome only affects about 1% of the U.S. population; however it is a chronic oral condition that can be quite disruptive for those who experience it.
Burning Mouth Syndrome (or BMS) is typically diagnosed when there is no obvious cause for the pain, tingling or burning that is going on inside the mouth. BMS can affect the entire mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, palate or throat. In addition to the uncomfortable “scalded” feeling, patients may also report dryness, numbness or a metallic taste in their mouth. It comes to no surprise, therefore, that BMS sufferers can face depression, weight loss and a decreased quality of life their condition persists for a long period of time.
BMS is one of the most poorly understood oral health conditions, mainly due to the fact that the cause is very difficult to pinpoint. Researchers believe that BMS is systemic and perhaps a neurological response. It has been linked with secondary causes such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, acid reflux and chemotherapy. Among the most popular suspicions is hormones, as BMS tends to occur more in menopausal women.
If you’ve eliminated the possibility that another medical condition is causing your BMS, then it is best to try to alleviate your symptoms as much as possible. It is very important to keep your mouth moist, as dry mouth can further irritate your BMS symptoms. If drinking more water is not reducing your dry mouth, ask your dentist about Biotene or other products to stimulate more saliva production. In addition, stay away from hot or spicy foods and eliminate any toothpastes or gum that may contain cinnamon flavoring.
The prognosis of BMS can vary from patient to patients. In some cases, the condition can resolve on its own in a matter of weeks or months. Some patients experience BMS symptoms intermitted, while others suffer throughout the day. At the office of Dr. Wayne Suway, we want to know when you experience discomfort or changes of any kind within your mouth. It is important that we rule out serious oral health conditions and provide ways to reduce your pain.