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Managing Burning Mouth Syndrome

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Burning mouth syndrome, or BMS, is a chronic dental condition that is often described as a burning sensation felt on the tongue, cheeks, lips or entire mouth. For those who deal with this issue, its symptoms can be both frustrating and painful, impacting the way in which they are able to live their lives--the condition generally appears suddenly and without warning. For most people diagnosed with this syndrome, its sudden onset can be likened to the sensation felt when your mouth is scolded by an extremely hot food or drink. Consequently, speaking with a dental health professional for prompt diagnosis is the first step in managing symptoms.

Symptoms and Signs

The most common symptom associated with burning mouth syndrome is severe burning. Generally, symptoms will begin in the morning and continue throughout the entire day, before reaching an elevated level of intensity in the evening. However, this will vary from person to person because the syndrome affects everyone differently. For some people, the discomfort is constant, while other people only suffer from occasional discomfort. In addition to a burning sensation, it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with this syndrome to have a dry mouth with feelings of extreme thirst as well as the inability to taste.

Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome

The causes behind this syndrome can generally be classified into one of two categories: primary or secondary burning mouth syndrome. Primary burning mouth syndrome is often associated with an issue related to an individual's sensory nerves or central nervous system. Whereas secondary burning mouth syndrome is generally caused by an underlying medical condition, such as a nutritional deficiency or endocrine disorder, such as diabetes. Additionally, adverse reactions to some oral medications, food allergies and depression can cause the onset of secondary burning syndrome.


Unfortunately, there is no known cure available for people who suffer from this condition; however, there are a number of treatment options available. The exact treatment plan prescribed for this syndrome is generally established based on whether or not the onset of the condition is primary or secondary. For an individual who has primary burning mouth syndrome, the dental professional will generally prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. However, for people with secondary burning mouth syndrome, the underlying condition is generally treated first. This is done in hopes of relieving any affects the burning mouth syndrome has on the individual.

Helpful Tips

In addition to visiting a dental health provider for treatment, there are a few things you can do on your own to help relieve symptoms, including chewing sugarless gum, sucking on ice chips and avoiding alcohol and tobacco products. Additionally, keeping water handy to sip on throughout the day, as well as being mindful of your intake of irritating substances, such as spicy foods or products high in acid, can also help ease the discomfort associated with this condition.