Do you ever feel a dry mouth during the night or early in the morning? Drinking water frequently during a meeting seems awkward! Burning mouth syndrome is a discomfort in your mouth. It also causes pain in your lips, the inner side of cheeks, and throat. It is 7 times more common in women than in men. This article covers the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of burning mouth syndrome. But first, let’s have a detailed look at what BMS is?
Burning mouth syndrome is a burning and scalding sensation in your mouth. The taste of the mouth becomes metallic. The exact causes of burning mouth syndrome are unknown. However, studies have found a change in the level of estrogen can cause BMS. That’s why it is more common in menopausal women. People might also experience their symptoms without knowing that they have burning mouth syndrome. It can become chronic. Let’s learn a bit more about the causes of burning mouth syndrome.
Causes of burning mouth syndrome
The causes of Burning mouth syndrome are categorized as primary and secondary. Let’s get into them one by one.
The exact causes of burning mouth syndrome are unknown. However, studies have found that BMS is a form of neuropathic pain. It actually occurs when the nerve fiber of the mouth becomes excited. Certain factors contribute to the excitation of nerves. These factors include:
- Anxiety, stress, and depression
- Adverse life event
Certain underlying factors also cause BMS. These factors are known as secondary causes. The secondary causes of BMS include:
- Hormonal changes such as menopause
- Metabolic disorder e.g diabetes
- Excessive use of medicines or drugs
- Blood pressure medications and radiation therapy mostly cause BMS.
- Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid
- Frequently biting the tip of your tongue
- Nutritional deficiencies such as deficiency of vitamin B12 or iron
- Yeast infection in the mouth
- Consumption of acidic foods or drinks
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Overuse the mouthwash and oral hygiene products
Furthermore, allergies to dental products may cause BMS. If you are a menopausal woman, there are more chances of getting BMS. Now, let’s move forward to the symptoms of Burning mouth syndrome.
Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome:
The primary symptoms of burning mouth syndrome are burning tongue and cheeks. You may feel the mouth has burnt with hot food. However, the symptoms might include:
A burning tongue that may be mild or severe. After eating certain foods, the feeling of the burning mouth becomes severe. BMS not only affect the tongue, but also cause discomfort in lips, throat, and gums. The roof of mouth and cheeks also possibly affected by BMS.
Other symptoms of the burning mouth are:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Burning inside the surface of the lips
- Loss of thirst and taste
- Taste of the mouth changes become metallic or bitter
- Scalding or burning sensation in the mouth
One important thing about BMS is that most of the symptoms usually start as soon as you wake up. They may remain until night. As the day passes, they become more severe. BMS may last long for months or even years. You may also have certain days without burning mouth syndrome. While the symptoms become severe in some days. you may also feel difficult to fall asleep. Certain oral infections have exactly the same symptoms as BMS. However, if you are feeling burning sensation along with the symptoms it’s possibly a BMS. These symptoms possibly help in the diagnosis procedure. Let’s get straight into the diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome.
Diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome:
There is no specific test for the diagnosis of burning mouth symptoms. Your doctor only uses your symptoms to rule out the problem. The possible steps in diagnosis are:
1. Complete medical history
- Any medications you are currently using or were using in past
- The medical health professional will ask you to describe your symptoms and how you feel
- Your oral habits and oral care routine
In addition to this, a physician may ask for certain tests to look at the sign and symptoms of a burning mouth. The tests include:
2. Blood test:
A doctor usually conducts a blood test to analyze the complete blood count. Glucose level, thyroid function, and nutritional factors give information about the source of discomfort.
3. Allergy test:
Allergy test is used to trace whether the source of burning is any food. An allergic reaction to food or food additives may also cause a burning sensation.
4. Oral cultures:
The doctor may take the sample from your mouth for biopsies. A physician observes the sample under the microscope for bacterial or fungal infection.
5. Gastric reflux tests:
One of the important causes of BMS is acid reflux. The doctors use a gastric reflux test to check if you have GERD.
6. Psychological questionnaire:
A doctor may also ask you to fill a questionnaire. That questionnaire rules out if you have depression or anxiety disorder. As we know, anxiety and depression are the causes of BMS.
7. Salivary measurement:
Dry mouth is one of the causes of BMS. The doctor performs a salivary measurement test to observe your salivary flow.
8. Medication adjustment:
If you are using certain medicines that cause a burning sensation in your mouth, the doctor may ask you to change the dose. The doctor can ask you to reduce the quantity or he may switch you to another medicine.
9. CT scan:
A CT scan gives a better oral picture to the doctor. A computerized tomography scan helps a doctor to diagnose the problem more accurately.
You should get yourself checked if you are observing the symptoms. Furthermore, the accurate diagnosis of BMS is necessary because the symptoms are quite similar to other oral disorders. Once the doctor completes the diagnosis process, you should get yourself treated. Let’s learn how treatment reduces the symptoms of burning mouth syndrome.
Treatment of burning mouth syndrome:
Ask someone how it looks to live with a BMS? The answer will be quite frustrated. Because BMS makes you unable to eat anything. Treatment of burning mouth syndrome again depends upon what is causing it. However, there are different approaches to treat primary and secondary BMS. We’ll discuss them one by one.
Treatment of primary BMS:
If your BMS is not due to an underlying cause, it will go away on its own. However, you can also change your eating habits. Change in your eating habits helps you to minimizes the chances of getting BMS. You can also try the following steps:
Avoid eating acidic and spicy food.
Sometimes, symptoms of burning sensation are due to toothpaste you have been using. So, change your toothpaste. Use baking soda in place of toothpaste. Baking soda cools down the burning sensation. Also, rinse your mouth with baking soda and water mixture. It will also relieve the symptoms.
Sip cold liquid throughout the day. It will help to reduce the dryness of the mouth. Furthermore, drinking liquid helps to relieve the burning sensation.
Do not eat food that increases the sensation of burning. As we know, alcohol consumption and smoking cause burning in the mouth and airway. So, do not consume alcohol as well as spicy foods.
Sugar-free gums help to produce more saliva. You can chew these gums to minimize the dryness of the mouth.
Do not take the stress. Stress and anxiety can worsen your symptoms of BMS. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do exercise and yoga on a regular basis. It will not only help you to manage your symptoms but also relaxes your mind and body.
Treatment of secondary BMS:
The term secondary BMS means if your symptoms are due to some underlying causes. If your BMS is secondary, try to manage the root cause of BMS. It will not only help you to minimize the underlying problem but also work for your BMS. If you are taking medicines for another health issue, it can also cause BMS. The doctor may change your medicines in order to minimize the symptoms.
- The doctors may give saliva producing medicines. The more the saliva produces, the less will be the symptoms of BMS.
- Medications that lessen nerve pain are also necessary. The medicines include amitriptyline and nortriptyline.
- Depression is one of the underlying causes of BMS. The doctors may give certain antidepressants to minimize the symptoms.
- Your doctor may also suggest capsaicin. Capsaicin is a pain reliever. It is made of hot pepper.
- Clonazepam (Klonopin) is also an effective medicine to treat BMS. However, its dose should be low.
- Change in hormone level is one of the primary causes of a burning mouth. Thus, hormone replacement therapy can work for your BMS.
- Vitamin supplements also work for the symptoms of BMS.
- Medications that neutralize the acid of the stomach help you to manage the burning sensation.
Prevention of burning mouth syndrome:
There is no known cause of BMS, so we cannot prevent it. However, we can practice the above-mentioned home remedies to cure the symptoms. Staying hydrated will surely work for BMS. It will reduce the burning sensation of your mouth. It is very difficult to live with a BMS. Hence, most of the people become stressed and anxious. You should manage your symptoms of anxiety along with burning mouth syndrome. A healthy life and good oral practices help you to manage your BMS.
Burning mouth syndrome is an infection of the mouth. Common symptoms of burning mouth syndrome include a burning sensation in the mouth and a dry mouth. Unfortunately, the exact causes of burning mouth syndrome are unknown. However, a doctor can relieve the symptoms of burning mouth syndrome by treatment. The treatment includes medications and home remedies. The diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome is rather difficult. Because the symptoms are quite related to any other mouth infection. However, you can easily manage the symptoms of IBS at home. You can also return to your original routine by taking proper care of yourself