August 9, 2007

Burning – Scalded Tongue Syndrome

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

Everyone has, at some time or the other, sipped a cup of coffee or tea that is too hot; he/she understands the discomfort that comes when a tongue feels burned. Imagine experiencing the burnt tongue feeling every day, continuously, or intermittently as some of the patients of burning tongue syndrome do, for months on end. Glossodynia, scalded tongue syndrome, burning mouth syndrome, and stomatodynia are some of the other names associated with a condition characterized by a painful burning sensation of the tongue, inner cheeks, palate, lips, and the back of the mouth. Usually there is no laboratory or clinical finding that can be linked to the burning tongue syndrome symptoms reported by the patients.

Burning tongue causes may be different for each patient. Women going through menopause have been known to suffer from burned tongue feeling more than men. If the condition is caused by a nutritional deficiency or a hormonal imbalance, it can be reversed by oral supplements of vitamin B complex or zinc or an appropriate hormone replacement therapy. Medication prescribed for high blood pressure is known to be one of the triggers for the condition, and if the onset of the condition can be correlated with the start of the medication, the physician may change the medication. However, stopping such drugs to see if the condition gets better must be done under medical supervision.

Treatment & Management

Burning tongue treatment and management is based on the symptoms, and the causes which are identified by medical professionals such as dentists after diagnostic tests. They may order an oral culture to check for fungal, viral, or bacterial infections. Salivary measurements to rule out or confirm dry mouth and other tests including blood tests and gastric reflux tests may be ordered. Allergies resulting from the use of dentures and certain oral hygiene products or denture components can also be the reason why the tongue feels scalded. Though psychological problems have not been identified as the direct causes for this condition, it is known that stress, anxiety, or depression can aggravate it. Grinding the teeth or changes in the composition of saliva can make the tongue feel burned. Antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy may be prescribed to deal with this discomfort.

So what are the burning tongue syndrome symptoms and is it possible to cure or get rid of these symptoms with the help of home remedies? Certain medical conditions and ingestion of some medicines may lead to a dry mouth and the burning tongue syndrome may be a result of the dry mouth. Sipping fluids all through the day keeps the mouth lubricated and eases the pain. Lozenges and saliva replacement products are often prescribed. Change in the perception of taste is common among those who suffer from burned tongue. They often complain that their mouth tastes bitter or metallic. Another common feature noted is that the pain appears to subside at night and the intensity of the pain builds up as the day progresses from mild to moderate or severe. Patients compare the pain to a nagging toothache. Burned tongue syndrome has been reported in several people with type II diabetes. They are also more likely candidates for oral fungal infections like thrush, a condition which also leads to the burnt tongue feeling. Sores in the mouth, ill-fitting dentures, and even alcohol from mouthwash have been known to aggravate the condition and cause severe pain.

In the absence of any local causes or diseases in the system that could lead to the burning tongue syndrome, remedies for the idiopathic condition have to focus on dysfunctional nerves that may be associated with the perception of taste. This is also called primary burning mouth syndrome. Gastro-esophageal reflux disease may be one of the causes of burning tongue syndrome; cure involves making major changes in the diet and lifestyle. Abstinence from tobacco is the first step. Food that is spicy, hot and acidic should be avoided. Paradoxically, a pain killer capsaicin, derived from chili peppers is a known burned tongue remedy.

For those who wish to know how to heal a burnt tongue faster and naturally, there are few home remedies. Lavender oil, which is known for its antiseptic properties, is smeared on the tongue to soothe it. Equally effective and soothing is glycerin when it is applied on the tongue. A very simple and tasty medicine is made by mixing honey with milk and coating the tongue with the mixture. Antiseptic properties of honey are well established and milk is cool on a burning tongue. For those wondering how to heal a burnt tongue faster, particularly if they have acid reflux problems, consuming two tablespoonfuls of apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water with a pinch of baking soda two or three times a day may do the trick.

Just as the onset of burning tongue syndrome is sudden, the pain and discomfort can ease equally fast once the underlying causes of the condition are effectively dealt with. Women in menopause who experience this disorder respond well to hormone replacement therapy. Identifying the cause of the disorder is the key to starting the right course of treatment recommended for this condition.