May 11, 2009

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Burning Mouth Syndrome, as the name suggests, refers to an intense burning pain in the mouth, most often on the tongue and the lips. In scientific terms it is known as glossodynia or oral galvanism. It is commonly witnessed in middle aged people with the burning sensation lasting for a few days. This condition can cause acute and unbearable pain and can make it impossible to eat all solid food.

Common Causes and Symptoms

The most common cause of burning mouth syndrome is attributed to a yeast infection in the mouth. In certain cases, it is also the result of a hormonal imbalance, nerve damage, endocrine disorder, or even a deficiency of vitamin B12. It is often associated with menopause but it can also be a painful side effect to certain medications.

The first symptom is a feeling of dryness in the mouth. You will feel thirsty again and again despite drinking water. This will slowly lead to a searing burning pain affecting your lips, gums, tongue and palate. In most cases, the burning sensation starts by early morning, builds itself to a peak by late evening and eventually subsides in the night. However, it is not uncommon to find patients who experience a constant burning sensation. Your tongue may also feel numb or there might be a tingling sensation on the tip of your tongue. Anxiety and depression too are common symptoms in people suffering from a burning mouth syndrome.

Since burning mouth syndrome has several probable causes, it is advised to medically establish the cause. This can be done through a thorough review of one’s medical history and an extensive oral examination. If the cause is as simple as ill-fitting dentures, it can be cured just as easily by adjusting the dentures. Doctors also advise the consumption of vitamin E and B tablets since the syndrome can be a result of nutritional deficiency too. Alternately, you could also eat foods that are rich in these vitamins like whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. For temporary relief you can sip water frequently or keep sucking on ice chips. Avoid ice cream, which can be harmful due to its sugar content. You could also chew gum, but make sure that it is sugarless. Absolutely avoid alcohol and tobacco. Hot and spicy foods and foods that are acidic in nature like citrus juices too should be avoided. In addition, you can also speed up the healing by brushing your teeth with baking soda and water.