The burning mouth syndrome, also burning tongue called or chronic, oral pain syndrome, is an unpleasant sensation disorder sufferers often tormented for months or years. Treatment is difficult because many different factors can trigger the disease. In addition to oral and dental problems, hormonal disorders, allergies, neurological diseases or psychological problems can also be considered.
What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome, a burning, sore feeling in the area of the tongue and the surrounding mucous membranes, particularly affects women between the ages of five and seven.
The intensity of the sensory disorder ranges from a slight tingling sensation to burning, stabbing pain. It is not uncommon for other symptoms such as tingling, itching, dry mouth, a furry feeling, disorders of the sense of taste and a reduction in saliva formation to occur. The sensory disturbances are mostly felt on the edges of the tongue and the tip, but sometimes the discomfort can also extend to the mucous membranes of the cheeks, palate and lips.
The symptoms, which for some sufferers are permanent, for others only in phases, usually increase in the course of the day in the case of Burning Mouth Syndrome, so that the severity is most pronounced in the evening.
The causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome are diverse. In addition to underlying conditions such as vitamin – or iron deficiency, anemia, diabetes mellitus, scleroderma, Lupo, multiple sclerosis or reflux disease and oral and dental problems such as tooth decay, can gum inflammation or ulcers cause his tongue for the burning of the oral mucosa.
Burning mouth syndrome is sometimes triggered by ill-fitting dentures, sharp tooth edges or protruding crown edges, which lead to irritation or injury to the tongue or oral mucosa. An allergy to braces or the metals of tooth fillings are also possible factors that can be responsible for burning in the mouth.
It is not uncommon for no physical cause for the painful sensory disorder to be identified. Stress, anxiety and depression can be the trigger for the burning sensation in the mouth and not only intensify the pain, but also prolong the suffering, since the Burning Mouth Syndrome is difficult to treat when psychological causes are present.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
The symptoms and complaints of the Burning Mouth Syndrome are very unpleasant and also have a very negative effect on the quality of life of the person concerned. The patients suffer primarily from a very pronounced burning sensation on the tongue. In general, severe pain and other unpleasant feelings can also occur in the oral cavity.
Burning mouth syndrome also makes everyday life much more difficult for those affected. This means that normal consumption of food and liquids is usually no longer possible and is associated with severe pain. If the Burning Mouth Syndrome is triggered by an allergy, there are usually other symptoms of this allergy.
The syndrome itself not infrequently spreads to the face, so that there can also be a burning sensation or itching. Burning mouth syndrome can also have a negative effect on the teeth, so that many of those affected also suffer from tooth decay. This can also lead to severe pain in the teeth or gums. The syndrome also leads to psychological complaints and depression in many patients, so that treatment by a psychologist is often necessary.
Diagnosis & course
People who suffer from Burning Mouth Syndrome often turn to their dentist for help. In a detailed anamnesis interview, he first asks the patient about the duration and intensity of the burning pain and about other symptoms.
This is followed by a visual examination of the teeth and the oral mucosa, during which the dentist can identify existing irritations and diseases within the mouth, jaw and face area. If the causes are not in the dental field, internists, ENT specialists, gynecologists, neurologists, dermatologists or psychologists can be called in, who then carry out the further examinations.
If the tongue is infected with fungus, a smear is taken and later examined under the microscope in the laboratory. If there is a suspicion of anemia, iron and vitamin deficiency or diabetes mellitus, a blood test will provide clarity. An allergy test provides information about existing allergies that can be the cause of the Burning Mouth Syndrome.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since the Burning Mouth Syndrome does not heal itself, a doctor must be consulted in any case in order to treat the symptoms and complaints of this disease. As a rule, see a doctor if there is a burning sensation on the tongue. An examination by a doctor is necessary, especially if the burning sensation lasts for a long time and occurs without a particular reason.
This can avoid further complications. In most cases, the burning sensation can spread to the entire oral cavity and thus indicate the burning mouth syndrome. A doctor should also be consulted if there are discomforts in the face or teeth.
Burning mouth syndrome is usually diagnosed and treated by a dentist. In many cases, however, further treatment is carried out by another specialist if the cause of the disease cannot be found in the oral cavity. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the symptoms can be treated.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment for burning mouth syndrome depends on the underlying cause. Complete freedom from pain is usually not achieved within a short period of time, as the symptoms often persist over a long period of time.
If the burning pain is an accompanying symptom of an underlying disease, the pain will slowly subside after the appropriate treatment or an improvement will occur. In the case of anemia, iron or vitamin deficiency, the administration of tablets is usually sufficient. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary. Diabetes mellitus can be effectively treated by changing one’s diet and reducing weight, coupled with the administration of insulin in the form of tablets or syringes.
A caries of teeth is removed using a drill and then refilled with a metal or plastic. Inflammation of the gums recedes with thorough oral hygiene. If there is an allergy to the materials of the dental fillings or dentures, these must be removed and replaced with other materials. If there are no organic causes for the burning sensation in the tongue, psychological support is required.
As part of a therapy, the patient learns to live with the disease and to see a reduction in pain perception as a success of the treatment. Sometimes the administration of antidepressants can have a positive effect on the sensation of pain. A special pain therapy in the form of a repeated, mutual blockade of the stellate ganglion with a local anesthetic with long-term effects can not only alleviate the symptoms of the Burning Mouth Syndrome, but also erase the pain sensation.
Outlook & forecast
Since the Burning Mouth Syndrome can be triggered by various factors, treatment of the disease often proves to be very difficult, so that those affected suffer from the symptoms of the syndrome over a long period of time. Complete healing can usually be achieved once the exact causes of the syndrome have been identified.
If the Burning Mouth Syndrome occurs due to certain foods, the syndrome can be completely alleviated by doing without them. Even in the case of deficiency symptoms, the symptoms can usually be treated well by the patient taking supplements. The same applies if the disease is caused by diabetes, although the symptoms can also be alleviated by treating the diabetes. A complete relief of the pain often only takes place over a longer period of time, so that the patients are dependent on long therapy.
In the event of food intolerance, the person concerned has to do without the food for his entire life and cannot ingest it. Since the burning mouth syndrome also causes discomfort to the teeth, these must be treated as well. Without treatment, this syndrome will not heal itself and, in many cases, the symptoms will worsen.
There are no special measures to prevent Burning Mouth Syndrome. Good oral hygiene with mild agents is particularly important. A healthy diet and the avoidance of spicy and acidic foods, alcohol and nicotine can provide relief from burning tongue.
With regular preventive and dental examinations, irritation and illnesses can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage, before the burning pain occurs. Relaxation exercises to reduce stress as well as psychological help with anxiety disorders and depression can prevent the development of the burning mouth syndrome or alleviate the pain.
In the case of Burning Mouth Syndrome, symptomatic treatment approaches and medical follow-up care can improve the symptoms. Even if the causes of the burning sensation on the tongue and oral mucosa cannot always be clarified, the symptoms can usually be treated successfully. Sometimes multiple triggers come together. This complicates the follow-up treatment.
Burning mouth syndrome usually has no psychological causes. Psychological follow-up care can still be useful if the burning mouth syndrome affects the quality of life. The glossalgia can be a burden. It can impair the taste experience.
For many people, it is difficult to eat food because of annoying sensations such as tingling or painful stitches. Triggers such as poorly cared for dentures, intolerance to dental materials or allergies must be eliminated if possible. Aftercare is about restoring the quality of life of those affected.
The attending physicians try to make it easier for those affected to cope with the symptoms. If Candida albicans is present, nutritional advice can be part of the follow-up measures. Vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux syndrome or other underlying diseases can also be treated as triggers for burning mouth syndrome.
You can do that yourself
Burning mouth syndrome has comparatively little room for maneuver in everyday life. Small everyday tips and tricks, however, make life more bearable.
First and foremost is the positive attitude to life. Despite the illness, this can be practiced over and over again every day and quickly becomes second nature. This is supported by cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation methods.
In addition, intensive oral care is the basis for a good mouthfeel. Mild toothpastes and mouthwashes help. Oral mucosal therapeutics sometimes have anti-inflammatory or mucosal anesthetic solutions that help alleviate the symptoms. However, these should be alcohol-free, otherwise they will intensify the burning sensation. Furthermore, some medicinal plants such as mallow leaves, linden blossoms or marshmallow roots also contain irritant-relieving mucilage. As a tea, tincture (also non-alcoholic) or gel for application, they are a valuable aid.
The dry mouth is counteracted with plenty of water and tea. It should be at least two liters a day. Sucking ice cubes or pastilles has also proven to be a valuable tip. In terms of diet, it is better to avoid spicy or acidic foods (including vinegar). Nuts also irritate the mucous membranes due to their oxalic acid content. Refraining from alcohol and nicotine (irritants) is also indicated. Overall, the overall physical well-being improves with regular exercise and adequate sleep.