Burning Mouth Syndrome: Causes and Relief

burning mouth syndromeHave you ever experienced a long-lasting burning sensation in your mouth? This feeling can be confusing, and you may not know what is causing it and how to seek relief. Your discomfort may be due to a pain disorder known as burning mouth syndrome (BMS). If you have received this diagnosis, do not worry. There are many steps you can take in understanding your condition and finding a solution. 

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

BMS is a pain disorder that causes a burning sensation in the tongue, lips, mouth, or throat. Other symptoms are dry mouth, thirst, metallic taste in mouth after eating or brushing teeth, or changes in taste. Your pain may develop gradually or arrive suddenly. Often, the sensation seems to worsen as the day goes on. 

If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your dentist or doctor. BMS is a rare and understudied condition; however, there is ongoing research regarding causes and solutions for this disorder. 

Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome

There are two main forms of BMS. The first is primary BMS, in which there is no diagnosed underlying medical condition causing the pain. Some of the risk factors of primary BMS are:

  • being over 50
  • dry mouth
  • high stress levels
  • experiencing a recent illness or traumatic event
  • anxiety or depression

In secondary BMS, an underlying condition is causing your symptoms. A few of the potential causes include:

  • chemotherapy or other cancer treatments
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • thyroid problems
  • low blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • fungal infections
  • allergies
  • autoimmune disorders
  • improperly fitting dentures

Relief for Burning Mouth Syndrome

If you suspect your BMS is due to an underlying condition, talk to your doctor or dentist about treating the condition causing this sensation. You may be prescribed nerve pain medication, oral rinses, or saliva replacement products. 

To avoid the potential side effects of prescription medications, you may want to try holistic remedies. Capsaicin rinses are suggested to temporarily numb pain. Swishing honey or baking soda may also reduce pain. Mouth rinsing or oil pulling can fight dry mouth in BMS patients. 

Potential causes of BMS include zinc, vitamin B12, or iron deficiencies, so taking supplements or eating food rich in these may help. One study suggests that alpha-lipoic acid supplements have been useful in preventing pain from BMS. Stress-reducing activities are also known to aid those suffering from BMS. 

For further information on Burning Mouth Syndrome, we encourage you to read Dr. Axe’s comprehensive article on BMS.