Burning mouth syndrome is a painful and often frustrating condition. Some patients compare it to having burned their mouth with hot coffee.
The burning sensation may affect the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the gums, the inside of the cheeks, and the back of the mouth or throat. The condition sometimes is known as “burning tongue (or lips) syndrome”, “scalded mouth syndrome”, “glossodynia” and “stomatodynia”.
In addition to the burning sensation, other conditions such as a dry or sore mouth or a tingling or numb sensation throughout the mouth and tongue may occur. A bitter or metallic taste also may be present. This condition can affect men and women but it is especially common in women during or after menopause.
The exact cause of burning mouth syndrome often is difficult to pinpoint. The disorder has long been linked to a variety of other conditions: menopause, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, tongue thrusting, disorders of the mouth (oral thrush and dry mouth), acid reflux, cancer therapy (irradiation and chemotherapy) and psychological problems. Some researchers also have suggested dysfunction in the nerves supplying the mouth and tongue as a possible cause. Strictly speaking, the term “burning mouth syndrome” should be used only when a definite cause has not been found.
Once burning mouth syndrome begins, it may persist for many years. Patients who have it may awaken with no pain only to find that the burning sensation grows progressively worse during the day. They may have difficulty falling asleep. The discomfort and relentlessness may cause mood changes, irritability, anxiety and depression.
How to Treat Burning Mouth Syndrome?