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Burning mouth syndrome: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About burning mouth syndrome (BMS)

Burning mouth syndrome as the name suggests, is a painful condition in which an individual experiences a burning sensation in the entire mouth including lips, tongue, gums and roof and floor of the mouth. It is also known by the name of ‘glossodynia’ and may occur as a symptom in many diseases as well.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Incidence, age and sex

Burning mouth syndrome is a fairly common condition encountered in the general population. It is more common in women as compared with men. Middle-aged and elderly individuals are more commonly involved, though it can occur in any age group.

Signs and symptoms of burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Diagnosis

The clinical features of burning mouth syndrome constitute burning sensation in the entire mouth accompanied by a feeling of soreness or pain in the mouth. The presentation of pain in mouth is variable and may differ from person to person. The mouth pain may be persistent or episodic with periods of waxing and waning. It is usually mild when one wakes up in the morning but progressively intensifies as the day passes. Some individuals may complain of loss of taste sensation or constant metallic taste in mouth. Occasional individuals may also experience tingling sensation on the tip of the tongue. Furthermore, anxiety and depression may crop up in affected individuals in response to the long standing nature of this syndrome.

Causes and prevention of burning mouth syndrome (BMS)

The exact cause of burning mouth syndrome is not clear but several factors like allergies, nutritional deficiencies of iron and certain vitamins may result in this syndrome. Moreover hormonal changes during menopause, nerve damage or recent denture treatment may also predispose individuals to burning mouth syndrome. Diseases like diabetes mellitus, sjogren’s syndrome, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and fungal infection of the mouth may also result in this syndrome.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Complications

Burning mouth syndrome is a harmless condition which usually does not cause any serious complications. However, it is chronic and quite distressing for the individual and thus may eventually lead to depression and irritability.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Treatment

It is essential to evaluate the cause of this syndrome in order to effectively eliminate it. Medications like analgesics may be prescribed to alleviate pain which is quite bothersome. Moreover some individuals may also need to be prescribed anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. Supportive measures like taking frequent sips of cold water, avoidance of hot, pungent food, alcohol and citrus fruits may greatly help in providing relief.