If you suffer from BMS (Burning Mouth Syndrome) then you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Some patients compare it to the feeling of getting their mouth or tongue burnt by hot coffee or tea. This syndrome usually affects middle or older aged women, but anyone can have it.
The burning sensation commonly affects the tongue, upper mouth cavity, the gums, inside of the cheeks and the back of the mouth and throat. The sensation appears spontaneously and suddenly and it can be very discomforting. The intensity can vary.
The exact cause of this affliction is hard to identify. It is usually associated with various other conditions and illnesses: menopause, diabetes, poor diet, vitamin and mineral deficiency, cancer treatment or psychological problems. Some studies point to dysfunctional nerve activity in the mouth and tongue as a potential cause.
The symptoms and the daily patterns of BMS vary from person to person. Patients may wake up with no pain whatsoever, but as the day progresses, they can feel the burning sensation increase. Discomfort sometimes comes and goes randomly. Alternatively, it can appear when you wake up and last the whole day. Patients sometimes cannot sleep at night because of it.
This condition can last for years. In rare cases, the symptoms suddenly disappear or they become less frequent.
The discomfort that will not ease down can cause mood swings, irritability, anxiety and depression. BMS has a negative effect on the quality of life and can affect your work and other activities.
First, you should visit your dentist. He can diagnose the illness and find a treatment. All possible oral factors that may cause the burning sensation must be identified or ruled out. For example, if you have a dry mouth, that can contribute to the burning sensation. In that case, you should drink more fluid or take saliva substitutes. Irritations caused by a sharp or broken tooth must also be ruled out.
If you regularly use alcohol based mouthwash, chew bubble gum, smoke cigarettes or drink high acidity fluids (some natural juices, soda or coffee), stop using them for at least two weeks to observe possible improvements in your condition. Also, try using a different toothpaste brand.
Some medication can cause the burning sensation so read about their side effects. If you find a medication that causes the burning sensation or a dry mouth, ask your doctor to prescribe a replacement.
If your dentist cannot find the exact cause of your condition, the problem is most likely caused by other illnesses and conditions like diabetes, anemia, thyroid gland problems or food allergies. Run some basic blood tests to identify or rule out some of these conditions. Your family doctor should review your tests and send you to a specialist should he find anything unusual.
Treating BMS with food
Cold food can reduce the burning sensation. Eat some ice cream or lick some ice cubes. However, some people feel relief when drinking something warm like chamomile tea.
Alkaline or neutral food and drinks can help you with your condition. Water is always a good choice. Fresh milk can also help.
Foods rich in vitamin B and iron also help reduce the symptoms. Eat chicken and meat with no heavy of chili spices. Beans and whole grains are also rich in vitamin B.
For people with BMS it is always important to start out easy and rule out possible triggers. Even if you fail to eventually find out the cause, medication is available that will reduce your symptoms.