Burning mouth syndrome : Image showing a woman's tongue with possible burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a condition you probably never heard about, here is Mrs Essien’s story…

Mrs Essien ran her tongue over the roof of her mouth, she could not explain the burning sensation she felt. She felt the hotness on her tongue and at the roof of her mouth.

She had first experienced it some few months earlier and didn’t know what to make of it.

She knew she had to see a dentist.


Burning mouth sensation is a condition that causes an abnormal hot sensation or a burning feeling in the mouth, it can affect all the areas of the mouth particularly the roof of the mouth, the tongue and the lips. The sensation may be severe or mild, it may also come as a tingling sensation.

Burning mouth syndrome : Image showing a woman's tongue with possible burning mouth syndrome

The burning sensation may be accompanied by a change in taste (a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth) and a dry mouth.

The sensation may be continuous, may come and go, may come in the morning and peak in the evening.

The condition affects women more than men especially women in menopause.


There are two types of burning mouth syndrome.
The primary type and the secondary type.
No one knows the exact cause of burning mouth syndrome.

There is no identifiable cause or underlying illness.

This diagnosis is made by exclusion after the dentist has run some tests.

The tests include blood tests , a salivary flow test , allergy testing and an oral swab.

This type is associated with or as a result of an underlying medical condition or an identifiable cause.

For the dentist to make this diagnosis, he or she has to find an underlying identifiable cause.

The possible causes include:

  1. Diabetes mellitus
  2. Vitamin deficiencies
  3. Medication
  4. Hormonal changes
  5. Acid reflux
  6. Dry mouth caused by a malfunction of the salivary glands
  7. Fungal (candida) infection
  8. Stress or anxiety
  9. Allergies to toothpastes, mouthwashes or denture materials
  10. Poorly fitting dentures
  11. Thyroid diseases
  12. Dysfunction of the nerves controlling taste or pain in the mouth


The treatment of burning mouth syndrome depends on the presence or absence of an underlying cause.

If there is underlying medical condition, your dentist may refer you to a physician for management. He or she may prescribe medication if there is an underlying mouth infection or if a nerve dysfunction is suspected.

The dentist may also prescribe medication to help increase saliva production or prescribe saliva substitutes.

If it is an allergic reaction, your dentist will try to find out the cause and ask you to eliminate it.

The dentist may change your denture if a poorly fitting denture is the cause or if you are allergic to the denture material.

HOME-CARE TIPS             

You may be asked to sip water often, chew sugar-free gum to help saliva production, suck on small ice cubes or crushed ice.

You may need to avoid irritants like hot and spicy foods, acidic fruits, acidic juices, alcohol, tobacco and certain mouthwashes or toothpastes.

Whatever the case, management starts with seeing a dentist.

Dealing with this condition can be challenging but you can find help if you speak with your dentist.

Book an appointment with one of our dentists today!


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