What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Most commonly found in adults 60 and older, Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is a complex condition that creates a burning or tingling feeling in the mouth that can last for just a few days to months. Montreal dental clinics offer several treatment options for those suffering from Burning Mouth Syndrome, so make sure to talk with your Westmount dentist if you’re experiencing any symptoms.

Symptoms and Causes of BMS

The most predominant symptom of Burning Mouth Syndrome is pain in the mouth. Your mouth may feel like it’s burning, tingling or numb. It can also cause an altered sense of taste and dry mouth. BMS typically affects the tongue, but you may also feel pain or numbness in the lips, palate, or throughout the mouth. BMS can be mild but for some, the pain is constant and may increase throughout the day.

There are two types of Burning Mouth Syndrome. It is believed that Primary BMS is caused by damaged nerves that control your sense of taste and pain. Secondary BMS is caused by an underlying medical problem. Treating the primary medical problem should help relieve symptoms of BMS. Some common causes of secondary BMS include:

  • Hormonal changes associated with menopause or thyroid disease
  • Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
  • Food allergies
  • Allergies to dental materials containing metals or allergies to dental hygiene products
  • Dry mouth, which can be caused by other disorders or certain medications
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Low levels of vitamin B12 or iron
  • Oral infections
  • Acid reflux

Diagnosis and Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome

There is no specific test for BMS, which sometimes makes it hard to diagnose. Your dentist at your Montreal dental clinic will perform a thorough examination and review your medical history. To identify underlying causes, they may recommend a blood test, an oral swab test, salivary flow test, allergy test, imaging or biopsy.

Treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome varies depending on the cause. Your dentist may prescribe medications to help manage the pain, numbness, dry mouth and other symptoms. If a medication is causing BMS, speak with your doctor about other options that may work better for you. Many patients find relief while drinking or eating. Sipping on a cold drink, sucking (not chewing) on ice chips, and chewing sugarless gum may also help alleviate symptoms. Certain things can make BMS symptoms flare up, including tobacco, alcohol, hot or spicy foods and acidic fruits and juices.