Is your mouth on fire? What you need to know about Burning Mouth Syndrome

Dentist Blog

If your mouth consistently feels like it's burning when you haven't eaten a chili or sipped any scalding coffee, you may have burning mouth syndrome (BMS). A condition that affects seven times more women than men, BMS is a painful and frustrating ailment and can affect the tongue, cheeks and gums. Here's what you need to know about this condition:

Causes of BMS

The condition is most common is menopausal women and so it is thought that the main cause of BMS is a hormonal imbalance. Oestrogen in particular controls the tongue's taste buds. If damaged, the pain neurons around these taste buds can constantly fire, so a woman with low levels of oestrogen may find that they begin to suffer with BMS.

But you don't have to be a menopausal woman or suffering from low oestrogen to develop BMS. Other causes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Diabetes
  • Oral candida (a yeast infection)
  • Reactions to medications
  • Allergies (to food or oral hygiene products)
  • Bad oral habits which may damage the tongue (such as tongue biting)

Symptoms of BMS

The main sign of BMS is the constant feeling that your tongue, cheeks or gums are burned. Other symptoms include:

  • A change in taste
  • A dry, gritty feeling in the mouth
  • A feeling of relief when eating or drinking

BMS can also result in signs that become evident to those around the sufferer, such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

There are no physical outward signs of BMS so try and explain to your dentist exactly how it feels so that they can diagnose you properly.

Treatment of BMS

There is currently no cure for BMS. It is not health or life threatening, but it is frustrating and painful. Fortunately, there are treatments that can soothe the pain and help to increase your quality of life.

Once you've been diagnosed, your dentist, and potentially your doctor, will try to ascertain the cause of your BMS. If it is likely to be a hormonal imbalance, this can easily be rectified with hormone replacement therapy, a healthy diet and seeking ways to reduce stress. Your dentist should check you for other causes, including infection (which can be treated with antibiotics) or dry mouth (which is treated with saliva replacement medications and increased fluid ingestion). Blood tests and swabs may also be required to rule out diabetes and other more serious illnesses.

If no cause can be found, then your BMS may be the result of an allergy. To test this you need to change the oral hygiene products you use and try eliminating any as appropriate. For example, stop using mouthwash and see if that makes a difference. You may also want to speak with your doctor about any side effects of medications you're taking. For example, high blood pressure medication has been known to cause BMS.

If your mouth is constantly burning, don't suffer in silence. Speak to a dentist like Buderim Marketplace Dental about it so you can get started on finding the cause and cooling your mouth.


15 April 2015

Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Hi! Welcome to my blog! My name is Kerry, and this blog is focused on dental fillings. It looks at the history of fillings, options for contemporary fillings, how to protect your fillings, when to replace them and much more. If you have ever had a cavity filled or if you are planning to get a tooth filled, you will find the information in this blog useful. I try to look at fillings from all angles, and I even plan to look at how to avoid fillings through proper dental hygiene and sealants. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find the info intellectually "filling."