Symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome include feeling as though your tongue or parts of your mouth are stinging or burning without actually having burned your mouth. symptoms may subside while you are eating or drinking something. In fact, individuals often find themselves over-eating because to do so makes the burning stop temporarily.
Burning Mouth Syndrome is not contagious, unless it is caused by a fungal, bacterial or viral infection, which is unlikely, unless accompanied with a white coating of the tongue or sores. It is most common in older men and women experiencing various stages of hormonal change (menopause and andropause) and in those individuals who thrust their tongues around in their mouths a lot, such as when chewing on toothpicks, biting the inside of the cheek, or habitually pushing the tongue against your teeth, which are all responses to stress.
Possible Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome
Excessive tongue movement is the number one cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome in 70% of all cases.
The 2nd most common cause of Dry Mouth is drugs, both, prescription and over-the-counter. There are over 1800 drugs that can cause dry mouth and eyes. The most common types of drugs leading to this condition are diuretics, high blood pressure medications, tricyclic antidepressants, Central Nervous System depressants, Lithium, allergy medications, weight loss and pain medications.
Hormone imbalances, which affect composition of saliva.
Fluoride (toothpaste and tap water).
Alcohol-based products, such as mouthwash or cough syrups.
Mint-based products or anything with any kind of mint.
Digestive disorders (indigestion and acid reflux).
Tooth whiteners or Sodium Laurel Phosphate (the 'sudsing' agent in toothpaste). Also, peroxide in toothpastes and mouth washes.
Antibiotics are the second most common cause of Burning Mouth is nutritional deficiency.
Neck injury, spinal misalignment and neurological disorders. Nerve damage to head and/or neck that regulates saliva output. TMJ is a very common cause.
Reduced blood flow to the mouth.
Allergies to chemicals, such as sensitivity to moth balls.
Food additives, preservatives, food coloring, etc.
Loss of the ability to taste.
Aging (as related to changing hormones)
Damage to the seventh nerve (the nerve that runs from the tip of the tongue, through the inner ear to the brain).
Certain autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's Syndrome, Hodgkin's, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's can be the cause of dry mouth and eyes (and other dry areas of the body).
Sicca Syndrome (dry mouth and eyes usually associated with menopause or andropause or Sjogren’s).
Yeast Infection (Candida)
Herpes Simplex Virus (oral)
Anxiety, primarily fear and irritability. Depression, anxiety and nervousness cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva.
Fibromyalgia is causes dry mouth, eyes and other dryness problems (breathing airways, intestinal, and vaginal dryness).
Radiation & Chemotherapy
High Blood Pressure
Chewing less than you used to. If for any reason you are not chewing 'tough' foods anymore (like celery, meat, raw carrots, nuts) then the salivary glands decrease in size, producing less lubrication. As you age, you may tend to lean towards eating foods that are gentler on your teeth. This can cause less saliva production, although not so much that it should be a noticeable problem.
Stress, depression and cancer can, either, be the cause of BMS or the result.
Disorders Related to Burning Mouth Syndrome
Burning Tongue Syndrome and Burning Mouth Syndrome are two different syndromes. BTS is a term used when any other cause of your burning tongue has been established, such as Geographic Tongue, which is caused from acidic burning from foods eaten.
Geographic Tongue is a separate, sometimes, painful condition. Although it is painful, its cause is known, whereas with BMS the cause of the pain is not clear. Your tongue may look like a map, due to some of the hairs (papille) are missing.
White Tongue may be associated with Thrush, which is a Candida overgrowth in the mouth, often causing a white film on your tongue, sometimes sores in the mouth, or on the back and sides of your tongue. It is also different than in the case of having too much stomach acid, which causes raw, painful blisters to form in your mouth.
Dry Mouth Syndrome, which may or may not be a part of Sjogren's Syndrome.
Other Possible Causes of BMS Explained
Dr. Miriam Grushka, an associate professor of dentistry at Case Western Reserve University, is concerned that some dental procedures could have an impact on the nerves in the mouth that may cause phantom pain. TMJ is described, by those who suffer from it, as face, jaw and/or ear pain that originates from a misalignment of the jaw.
TMJ can cause headaches and clicking, or popping, of the jaw hinges. Sometimes the jaw can become stuck open. For example, if you have TMJ, you may not be able to bite into apples without having trouble opening or closing your mouth normally. This trouble with the jaw can begin after having to hold your mouth open for long periods of time in the dental chair.
TMJ can cause Burning Mouth Syndrome because it affects the muscles and nerves of your head and neck. You might want to consult your dentist if you suspect this may be a problem for you. Chiropractors can also help with TMJ.
The most frequent time for onset of Burning Mouth Syndrome is two years before and six years after menopause. Menopause and (andropause (for men) are common denominators for most people with BMS, suggesting that hormones play a role in BMS. Hormones affect the composition of your saliva. Still, doctors believe that there must be another factor involved than just decreased hormone levels.
Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, an experimental psychologist at Yale Medical School, believes persons suffering from BMS are actually experiencing pain phantoms much like someone who has had a limb removed. She says that our sense of taste normally inhibits pain from the tongue. When taste buds are damaged and dysfunctional, the brain gets a false message thinking it has received a message of pain from the tongue. A metallic taste in the mouth, often associated with BMS, is actually the result of damaged nerves, with the brain creating this sense of taste much the way an amputee still feels an arm that is missing.
Dr. Miriam Grushka, an associate professor of dentistry at Case Western Reserve University, discovered a relationship between BMS and some connective tissue disorders, including rhuematoid arthritis, Sjogren's disease and lupus. She is concerned that some dental procedures could have an impact on the mouth leading to phantom pain. Damage to the 7th nerve (the nerve at the tip of the tongue) can cause BMS.
What Doctors are Doing
Doctors are prescribing Clonazepam (an anticonvulsant) for BMS. Symptoms appear to be gone within 24 hours in up to 70% of individuals. Relief with this medication may be found, but the side effects may not be worth it. It may interest you to know that this is one of the drugs also used for Tinnitus.
Natural Old World Remedies for Burning Mouth Syndrome
Avoid alcohol based mouth rinses, sprays and cough syrup, cigarette smoke, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Sorbic Acid and Benzoic Acid (preservatives) and Propylene glycol, which is a moisturizing agent in foods, drugs and cosmetics. Basically, stick with all natural ingredients.
Avoid consuming too many acidic drinks (sodas, black tea, citrus juice, tomato juice, etc.).
Eliminate fluoride and tooth whitening toothpaste. You may want to avoid toothpaste all together if you have BMS. Use an all-natural paste, such as Tom's of Maine Sodium Laurel Phosphate free toothpaste or make your own at home. Here's a quick recipe to use for brushing and oral health in general.
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, 1 - 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons of Baking Soda, 5 drops each of essential oil of Lemon, Peppermint, Clove, Cinnamon, Rosemary and Oregano. Mix well and pour in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Place in bathroom medicine cabinet. Dip your brush into the mixture, brush as normal and spit. Use very hot water to rinse your brush. You don't have to rinse your mouth, unless you want to. Warmer temperatures will liquefy the oil. Placing the jar in a cooler spot with solidify it. Either way is fine to use.
Salty snacks or foods can irritate the mouth and tongue causing Burning Mouth Syndrome and Dry Mouth Syndrome. Avoid salty foods, such as chips and pretzels for at least two weeks. Add them back into your diet and check for a reaction. Also, use natural sea salt (this is the salt your body requires), rather than ordinary table salt, which is worthless and may even be harmful.
Avoid becoming dehydrated. Don’t rely on feeling thirsty. The sensation of thirst shuts off when your body knows you are not paying attention to the signal. Sip water while you are eating. There is a lubricant in saliva. Saliva is not just water, but sipping on water helps to wash down your food.
You might consider allergy testing. Allergies to foods, chemicals and additives may also cause symptoms of dryness. The drawback is that these tests are not always reliable. Still, you might try SpectraCell, a reputable online nutritional testing source.
Chiropractic adjustment may help if you also have a stiff neck.
Take your dentures out while you are sleeping. If they don't fit well, try to get them refitted so you won't be playing with them with your teeth or irritating your tongue with them.
Don't hold your glasses, pens and pencils with your teeth. This causes a tightening of your face, jaw and throat muscles. Which will irritate fine nerves.
Experiencing a metallic taste in your mouth is a symptom commonly shared in those suffering from mouth pain. this metallic taste can be caused by dental materials, Gingivitis, or your brain assigning a flavor to damaged taste buds. Damage of the seventh nerve that runs from the tip of your tongue, through your inner ear and to your brain is a cause of damaged taste buds.
Watch your posture. Stand and sit up straight. Slouching makes your next extend out, which causes strain in the neck muscles, which can transfer pain in the tongue. By the way, bad posture is also related to feeling burdened and hopeless about changing things things in your life, so find ways to reduce stress.
Suck on a sore throat drop. It will numb your tongue for awhile and enable you to distract yourself. Do not use anything containing Menthol or Peppermint. Try Ricola mouth drops or make your own throat drops.
Stop thrusting your tongue. 70% of all BMS is caused by tongue thrusting. What you are feeling may be referred pain from the tongue and throat muscles. Try not to play with your teeth, or gums, with your tongue. Some people thrust their tongue against their teeth, much like others who grind their teeth or flex the back muscles of the tongue in stress. Chew on ice. Massage the underside of your chin, jaw and throat area. Sometimes, doing this will relieve the burning instantly.
Stop leaning on your elbow. When you lean on your elbow and support your face against your hand it stretches the muscles under the jaw and causes muscle fatigue and tension. This tension can cause nerves to be irritated, leading to burning throat, mouth, and tongue.
Extremely hot beverages can leave the nerves of the mouth unsettled when hot enough to burn. Try drinking your hot beverages not quite so hot.
For pain, take 20-30 drops of Echinacea 3 x per day. It has a numbing effect on the tongue.
For Vitamin Deficiencies
The #1 supplement for this dis-ease is Alpha Lipoic Acid (take as directed on the label).
Folic Acid with B-12 or a Vitamin Bcomplex
Vitamin E with mixed Tocopherols
You might also try:
See Supplements for proper nutrient dosages, a list of foods containing the nutrients you seek, and precautions.
Burning Mouth Associations
Spiritual/Psychological cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome: The inability to taste (experience) the joy of life.
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