Experiencing a Hot, Tingling Feeling? It May Be Burning Mouth Syndrome
It’s not a common condition, but it can cause extreme discomfort. According to the American Dental Association, less than 5% are affected by burning mouth syndrome (BMS). The symptoms associated with this syndrome vary and, unfortunately, diagnosis may be complicated and it can take time to find effective treatment options.
Learn more about the symptoms, underlying causes, diagnostic procedures and treatment options for burning mouth syndrome. We have also included some helpful recommendations for decreasing the discomfort that it can cause.
Symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome
People who suffer from this rare condition often describe hot, burning, numb or tingling sensations in their mouth. The syndrome gets its name from the fact that many patients say that it feels like their mouth has been scalded. Though discomfort is usually localized to the tongue, it can also affect the gums, cheeks, lips and roof of the mouth. These feelings are commonly combined with oral pain, dryness or a strange bitter or metallic taste. Unexplainable feeling as if part of the mouth was burned by hot food or drinks.
- Recurring tingling pain in a specific area of the mouth or lips.
- Dry mouth.
- Strange taste in the mouth or near the throat.
- Numbness and decreased sense of taste in an area of the tongue or mouth.
For some patients, the burning sensation increases later in the day, while others feel it regularly throughout the day. A small percentage of people experience symptoms of burning mouth syndrome which come and go on a day-to-day basis. Though there is no clear physical reason for the burning feeling, it can last for months or longer.
Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome
Doctors and scientists are still working to clearly define the causes or contributing factors to this condition. The syndrome has been linked to an underlying issue with the sensory nerve fibers. Additional factors can cause burning mouth sensations to become worse or more noticeable. These factors are considered secondary causes of BMS:
- Persistent dry mouth,
- Hormonal changes (such as those related to menopause),
- Oral fungal or yeast infections,
- Type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders,
- Nutritional vitamin or mineral deficiency (such as anemia),
- Bad-fitting dentures or allergies to dental materials,
- Recurring acid reflux,
- Certain prescription medications (such as antidepressants and ACE inhibitors),
- Radiation therapy,
- Food allergies,
- Certain endocrine disorders,
- Certain autoimmune conditions,
- Stress or depression.
Though there is no clear treatment process or cure for burning mouth syndrome, many of the secondary factors can be treated. Most patients find relief from symptoms by controlling the contributing causes of the condition.
Diagnosing Burning Mouth Syndrome
This syndrome is challenging to diagnose because there is no single test to help doctors and dentists identify it. It’s also not something that your healthcare providers can see during a visit. It is most commonly diagnosed in women over 60 years old.
First, talk to your dentist and physician if you are experiencing a burning sensation, you may be referred to a specialized dentist or oral surgeon. Then, you should thoroughly discuss your medical history as at the beginning diagnostic process. Next, the specialist will examine your mouth and may request some additional tests, including:
- Blood tests to look for related medical issues,
- Oral swab analysis,
- Allergy testing,
- Salivary flow testing,
- Tissue biopsy.
Treatment Options for Burning Mouth Syndrome
For this syndrome, there is no cure, but there are a few combinations of treatment options. Most treatments work to help patients control or decrease symptoms. You may have to try a few different things before you find the solution that works best for you.
- Medicated mouthwash,
- Having dentures replaced or refitted,
- Changing medications,
- Prescription medication for BMS,
- Saliva substitutes.
Recommendations for Dealing with Burning Mouth Syndrome
For those who are living with burning mouth syndrome, like any chronic pain condition, dealing with ongoing symptoms can be frustrating. We have compiled a list of suggestions for reducing the burning sensation and limiting the discomfort associated with this condition.
- Because eating or drinking can help ease the pay temporarily, try sipping a cold drink, chewing sugar-free gum or occasionally sucking (not chewing) on ice chips.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
- Avoid spicy foods and alcoholic drinks.
- Use only alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Decrease your intake of foods that are high in acid, such as tomato sauce and fruit juice.
If you are experiencing symptoms of burning mouth syndrome, ask your dentist; he or she may also have some helpful tips for you.
Talk to Your Dentist Whenever You Develop New Symptoms
Whenever you experience new symptoms that are affecting your teeth or overall oral health, it’s best to talk to your dentist. Regular dental hygiene visits are a good time to discuss any changes that you have noticed. Make an appointment with the Briglia Dental Group in West Chester, Pennsylvania by calling our office at (610) 692-4440 or schedule online.