What is burning mouth syndrome?

In this post, we’ll cover the symptoms, causes and treatment options for burning mouth syndrome and explain why you need to see a dental professional if you think you might have it.

What are the signs of burning mouth syndrome?

The most common symptom of burning mouth syndrome is the feeling that you’ve scalded your mouth when you know that you haven’t.

The sensation is most common on your tongue but it may also affect your lips, gums, the roof of your mouth, your throat or even your whole mouth.

Other signs include:

  • A full or partial loss of taste
  • Strange bitter or metallic tastes in your mouth
  • Dry mouth with increased thirst
  • Tingling, stinging or numbness in part or all of your mouth

Common causes

There are three primary causes of burning mouth syndrome:

  • Underlying dental or medical concerns, including vitamin deficiency or a yeast infection
  • Excessive stress or anxiety
  • Hormonal changes related to menopause

While burning mouth syndrome is more common in women, men can get it, too.

How to diagnose burning mouth syndrome

When burning mouth syndrome is suspected, blood work is usually run to test for any potential issues. Your mouth will be inspected for any undiagnosed dental concerns or the presence of disease. If no major medical or dental issue is found and the burning sensations persist, then burning mouth syndrome is a possible cause.

Treatment options

Often burning mouth syndrome will go away on its own over time, particularly if you find ways to lower your stress levels and alleviate anxiety. Sometimes, simply knowing that you do not have a serious condition is enough to ease worries and lessen the symptoms.

Some patients will need to learn to live with burning mouth syndrome. Over time, mental exercises can help you to stop focusing on the sensation and to think about other things. Also, knowing that there’s nothing to worry about when the feeling kicks in should aid in the process of getting used to the sensation.

When to make an appointment

Patients who experience ongoing burning sensations in their mouth should see their dentist or oral surgeon, who can rule out the presence of a more serious issue and suggest treatment options.