Burning mouth syndrome for some time was a mystery for both doctors and dentists alike and in some respects it is still quite difficult to recognise. There are no specific tests for it, making it hard to diagnose, and no specific treatments, making it hard to treat.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is described as entailing a painful, tingling sensation on the tongue, lips and palate as well as general pain and irritation in or around the mouth. In addition to these symptoms, some sufferers may also notice an unsettling numbness, a metallic taste, dry mouth, and they might notice that their experience of taste has been slightly altered. This can last for months or even years at a time, but symptoms may regularly come and go. Many people often notice that eating, drinking or brushing their teeth can temporarily relieve them of the symptoms. The syndrome usually comes on quite suddenly without any preliminary warning signs and sometimes persists until the person has sought out treatment. BMS doesn’t often go away on its own, so see your doctor or dentist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Everyone’s experience of BMS tends to differ, which makes it so difficult to diagnose, and the causes often vary. It is more common for BMS to be diagnosed through a process of elimination than for a doctor or dentist to recognise specific symptoms. If you feel as though you might have BMS your doctor will likely refer you to a specialist to get a more accurate diagnosis and determine the cause. Because there are no specific tests for diagnosing BMS, a specialist will usually perform a series of different tests to get an overall gauge of your health, such as blood tests, allergy tests, oral swab tests and salivary flow tests. Depending on whether or not your specialist is able to find a specific cause of your BMS you might be diagnosed with primary or secondary BMS. Secondary BMS is usually caused by medical conditions and changes inside the body, such as hormonal changes, medication, nutritional deficiencies, acid reflux or infection. Primary BMS, however, doesn’t have a definite cause, although some professionals think that it may be related to problems with the nervous system. If a medical condition is the cause of BMS then treatment of the condition will usually get rid of BMS. Otherwise, treatments will almost always differ and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. So, the aim is to reduce the severity of the symptoms and control the amount of pain.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of BMS then you should see your doctor or dentist and avoid certain foods and drinks that might irritate your mouth. This includes spicy foods, tobacco, acidic foods and citrus fruits. Alcohol is also capable of drying out the mouth and worsening the pain of BMS so you should avoid drinking alcohol and use an alcohol free mouthwash. If you’re not sure where to find a good quality, alcohol free mouthwash you can find one on our best mouthwash list. Here you can find some excellent alcohol free mouthwashes that might relieve you of oral pain.