Have you developed a constant burning sensation inside your mouth without any cause or any ulcers or lesions in your oral cavity? If yes, you could perhaps be suffering from a condition called Burning Mouth Syndrome. And, if you are wondering what burning mouth syndrome is, what its causes and symptoms are, and how you can manage it with self-care tips and homeopathy, think no further. Read on to learn all about it.
What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
In this health condition, the patient feels a constant burning pain as if scalded by drinking very hot liquids like tea or coffee. This burning sensation is felt on the front half of the tongue, the inner side of cheeks, gums, the hard palate or roof of the mouth, and the inner side of the lips. This could either develop suddenly or gradually. On examination, no redness, blisters, or ulcers are seen. Also, though there is a burning sensation, the parts do not feel hot to touch.
Although it is not a life-threatening condition, burning mouth syndrome has a significant impact on the quality of life of the patient because of the continuous unpleasant burning sensation. The patient may lose appetite, become irritable, or feel depressed due to the condition.
Why Does One Get Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome could happen without any traceable/identifiable cause. At times, there could be an underlying cause for the development of this discomforting condition. Some of the common causes of burning mouth syndrome include:
- Hormonal imbalance: The imbalance of hormones occurs around the time of menopause and post-menopause. This is the reason why burning mouth syndrome is commonly observed in women in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal phases. Around menopause, as the levels of estrogen hormone reduce, there is also a decrease in saliva production leading to symptoms, such as dry mouth, burning, and a metallic taste.
- Anxiety and depression: Anxiety and depression it is the second major cause of burning mouth syndrome. Here the patient will experience a burning mouth while awake and be symptom-free when asleep.
- Abnormal function of the nerves that carry the sensation of taste and temperature.
- Due to nutritional deficiencies, such as deficiencies of vitamin B 12, iron, and zinc.
- Allergy to certain chemicals present in the toothpaste and mouthwash
- Allergy to the material of dentures
- Conditions causing damage to the tongue, such as ill-fitting dentures, over brushing the tongue, the habit of pushing the tongue between teeth while swallowing, taking acidic drinks, etc.
- Dry mouth syndrome resulting due to less production of saliva can make you suffer from burning mouth syndrome. It is observed in people with salivary glands dysfunction and the conditions blocking the salivary ducts.
- The patients on cancer treatment undergoing radiotherapy could also experience a dry mouth.
- Diabetes: A prolonged increase in the blood sugar levels could damage the nerves causing neuropathy and hence burning mouth syndrome.
- Oral thrush could cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
- If the burning sensation also extends to the throat, the cause could be acid reflux.
- If the condition is on and off, one could also suspect food allergies. In this case, one needs to maintain a food diary.
- Certain autoimmune conditions such as oral lichen planus, autoimmune thyroiditis, Sjogren’s syndrome would also cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
- It could also be drug-induced. Medicines such as those given for high blood pressure can lead to burning mouth syndrome.
Symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome:
Here are some common symptoms of burning mouth syndrome.
- Burning pain in the mouth for a long time is the most common symptom of burning mouth syndrome. It could be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the pain tolerance threshold of the patient. Also, it could be continuous, increase/decrease as the day progresses, and better at night/intermittently. The patient could be free of the burning sensation on some days and on other days it could be continuous.
- The sensation of a dry mouth
- Metallic taste in the mouth or there could be loss of taste
- Besides this, the patients could also exhibit the symptoms of the underlying condition that is causing burning pain, such as anemia, certain nutritional deficiencies, the tongue could be bald, oral lichen planus, there could be lacy pattern inside the mouth, presence of oral thrush, the redness in case of abrasion of the tongue, mood, and emotional disturbances, and anxiety and depression.
How is Burning Mouth Syndrome Diagnosed?
The condition is diagnosed by examining the patient and considering the medical history of the patient. The doctor may order certain tests to rule out other disorders. The tests may include blood tests for nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, skin biopsy, CT scan, or MRI brain to rule out any tumors that are causing abnormal sensations.
8 Self-Care Tips for Managing Burning Mouth Syndrome
Here are some helpful tips to manage burning mouth syndrome.
- Suck ice chips to temporarily relieve the burning.
- Keep on drinking sips of the cold water.
- Change your toothpaste. For instance, some patients may develop an allergy to fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwashes. You can switch on to non-fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash to see if it helps.
- If the burning in the mouth is on and off, try to maintain a diary to figure out which of your activities is triggering the problem.
- If you have anxiety issues, practice meditation, and relaxation techniques.
- Increase the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and chicken in case you have been experiencing nutritional deficiencies. Your doctor will also prescribe multivitamin and iron supplements to correct this deficiency.
- Discuss with your doctor to see if the burning mouth is because of the present prescribed medications and if he could change the medications.
- If the burning in the mouth is from the time you have put on the new dentures, speak to your dentist about it.
Can Homeopathy Help in Treating Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Homeopathy offers effective treatment for burning mouth syndrome. It will not just treat the condition but also help to correct the underlying cause of this condition. The response to the treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the cause of the condition. Below are some commonly indicated medicines for burning mouth syndrome.
- Arsenic Alb: Burning pain is the characteristic that indicates this remedy gets better by the warmth. Stitching and burning pain in the tongue which is clean, dry, and red indicate Arsenic Album. Marked anxiety about one’s health, fear of death, and restlessness with weakness indicate this medicine. The patient experienced aggravated discomfort at midnight.
- Cantharis: This homeopathic medicine is effective in treating great burning in the mouth and throat. Scalded feeling and tongue turning deeply furred with red edges and covered with fluid-filled eruptions indicate Cantharis. When the patient has difficulty in swallowing liquids and affected parts are oversensitive to touch and experience raw burning pains, this medicine is recommended.
- Iris: When the mouth and tongue feel as if scalded, this remedy is indicated. When the patient experiences increased salivation with ropy drops when talking, Iris may help. When the patient complains of the discomfort of the throat and stomach as if on fire, the dryness of mouth in the morning, and the food tasting flat or acidic, and later on, sweet, this medicine is recommended.
- Sanguinaria: Heat in the mouth as if due to eating peppers indicate this remedy. Sanguinaria is effective in offering relief when the patient experiences a slight acrid and burning sensation in the mouth and roughness and dryness in the mouth and throat. When the patient develops ulcers on the sides of the tongue, this medicine is recommended.
- Taraxacum: This remedy helps when the patient develops a mapped tongue. White coating on the tongue which comes off in patches leaving red-sensitive spots and a bitter taste in the mouth indicates this medicine.
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