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Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) occurs predominantly in middle aged men and women. It is also called glossodynia or stomatodynia. This syndrome occurs in the oral cavity affecting the gums, lips and the tongue. In severe cases, the tongue becomes scalded and has a bruised appearance. Burning mouth syndrome can occur because of preexisting medical and dental conditions such as menopause, oral thrush caused by yeast infection and also some forms of allergies. The exact cause of the burning mouth syndrome is not identified, however when it is diagnosed it becomes absolutely necessary to evaluate the underlying conditions associated with its cause.


Burning mouth syndrome is high among post-menopausal women. Patients often complain of metallic taste; followed by numbness in the oral cavity. The chronic pain caused due to burning mouth syndrome gradually increases and persists. Some patients complain of these symptoms after undergoing a dental procedure. In case of burning sensation, the tongue becomes scalded and patches on the tongue can be seen. The scalded patch is usually 6-9 cm.

Another important condition associated with burning mouth syndrome is xerostomia which is also called dry mouth. In this condition, the salivary flow to the mouth is reduced to a large extent and the person experiences taste aberrations such as metallic taste or bitter taste in the mouth. Studies indicate that this syndrome is caused because of changes associated with neurotransmitter molecules of the central nervous system. Some clinical findings reveal that the major factor associated with BMS is stress. Stressful conditions often release neurotransmitters as a hormonal response. Any changes or insufficiency in these neurotransmitters can lead to BMS.

Diagnosing Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome can be treated effectively by working up a diagnostic pattern. The diagnostic measures taken are associated with the patient's history of underlying medical conditions, stress and lifestyle patterns. Patients who undergo cancer treatment and antimicrobial therapies have greater chances of BMS. In addition these factors, BMS is also caused due to trauma to the nervous system in the oral region.

Patients who suffer BMS are treated with an anesthetic mouthwash to reduce the pain and burning sensation. If the pain persists then the salivary glands are carefully examined. This enables detection of a neurological condition called Sjogren syndrome which is associated with salivary gland flow functionality. Patients are tested for their taste patterns and salivary flow analysis is done to assess the type of treatment required. Other patients who have normal taste patterns and BMS are examined for history of reflux disease and previous dental procedures.

Treating Burning Mouth Syndrome

Many patients are counseled to avoid stress as it plays a major role in the onset of BMS. Antidepressant drugs such as clonazepam are recommended for some patients. In case of dry mouth, patients are advised to drink plenty of water or even use sugar free chewing gum to facilitate the salivary flow. Many dietary recommendations are also given to patients suffering with BMS. Patients are advised to avid spicy food, carbonated drinks, acidic juices and also chewing of tobacco. Adequate protein intake along with fiber is recommended to avoid gastrointestinal reflux related BMS and malnutrition associated BMS.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 12, 2017