A burning discomfort in the mouth is common and can be associated with a number of disorders when present in combination with other symptoms. However, up to 15% of older patients may experience a burning sensation in the mouth despite the absence of other visible symptoms. This is classified as Burning Mouth Syndrome.
Burning mouth syndrome causes
Despite there being no visible evidence of the condition, psychological problems such as emotional stress, anxiety and depression, hormonal deficiencies in post-menopausal women and neurological abnormalities have all been identified as possible contributors of burning mouth syndrome.
Symptoms include the following:
Chronic burning sensation on tongue, hard palate, lips or surface of the mouth between the gums and lips
A dry mouth sensation
Tingling sensation causing discomfort
Altered taste and/or smell
Burning mouth syndrome is diagnosed by exclusion of other factors that may cause oral burning. Factors may include medications, Type 2 Diabetes, allergies and vitamin deficiencies amongst others.
Treatment and Remedies
The first step in burning mouth syndrome treatment is to remove any local contributing factors such as infections, oral products and spicy foods. Alcohol-free dental products with low additives and minimal flavoring are recommended, as are sugar-free candies and gum, and non-caffeinated beverages. Therapies including stress management, yoga, psychotherapy and moderate exercise have also been found to help decrease pain intensity.
Depending on your symptoms, some antidepressants that are used to treat anxiety may also be considered as a burning mouth syndrome treatment, alongside some topical approaches.
Despite being benign, burning mouth syndrome can be debilitating, and so it is recommended that you visit your dental professional if you are suffering from any form of oral burning.