Burning Mouth Syndrome

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , , ,

Over the past several years, I have seen a handful of patients who report that their mouths burn. These people have what is called Burning Mouth Syndrome, which is a common problem that causes a person to have a burning sensation on their lips and tongue. Occasionally the pain can be felt anywhere in the mouth including down the throat. Usually there is not any sign of irritation in the persons' mouth. Its cause can be from a multitude of things. Menopause is one cause as are certain vitamin deficiencies such as iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine and cobalamin. Although it can happen to anyone, the condition usually happens to older females, over 65 years of age.

The main symptoms as stated before are a burning or scalding sensation anywhere in the oral cavity. Other symptoms can be dry mouth, and bitter or metallic tastes.

Patients report that the sensation happens spontaneously, and it usually intensifies throughout the day. It is not unusual for sufferers to have more than one cause attributed to the problem. Xerostomia (dry mouth), irritating dentures, oral thrush, allergies and acid reflux have all been implicated the ailment. Any medications that can cause dry mouth can be suspect, and there are many drugs that fall into this category. Cancer therapy treatments involving chemotherapy and radiation can also be a part of the cause. Research also points to psychological causes, such as depression and anxiety.

Your dentist can look for signs of dry mouth as well as thrush. He or she can review your medical history to see if you are now on any new medications which could be the culprit. If the cause seems to be dry mouth, the obvious treatment is to drink plenty of fluids. Also, a prescription for medicines that promote more salivary flow might be needed. If thrush is present than medications to treat this will be prescribed. Poorly fitting dentures should be adjusted or new dentures made to help prevent oral irritations. Occasionally your dentist might refer you to your family physician to decide if other tests, such as blood, allergy, liver or thyroid, to see if there are any abnormalities that can be detected.

If you or anyone you know is having this problem it would be wise to visit your dentist for an examination.