How Do You Treat Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Medically Reviewed on 12/22/2022
Burning Mouth Syndrome
Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome may appear suddenly or develop gradually over time.

Although there is no known cure for burning mouth syndrome, a variety of therapies and supplements (such as alpha-lipoic acid and B vitamins) can help.

The following can successfully treat the condition:

These therapeutic options help treat primary burning mouth syndrome, whereas secondary burning mouth syndrome is successfully managed by treating the underlying condition.

There is no single treatment that works for everyone. Treatment options are tailored to the person’s specific needs and health. However, the primary step to treat burning mouth syndrome is to eliminate any local contributory factors, such as infections, oral products, or hot meals.

Pain severity and burning symptoms can be managed with:

  • Stress management
  • Yoga
  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Topical analgesic capsaicin
  • Moderate exercise
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Low-level laser therapy that stimulates the production of serotonin and beta-endorphins can alleviate burning symptoms

Some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding tobacco products and citrus and other acidic foods, are beneficial and effective. Consuming plenty of water and other liquids may alleviate unpleasant and painful oral symptoms and enhance healing.

What is burning mouth syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome causes burning pain in a normal-appearing mucosa for at least four to six months. The mouth, lips, surrounding region, gums, insides of cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and tongue are the most affected areas. The person may experience severe burning feelings and discomfort in these regions.

The pain could be constant or irregular and the severity of the condition differs among people. Soreness in the mouth, dry mouth, tongue numbness, and metallic taste in the mouth are some associated symptoms.

Burning mouth syndrome is classified depending on the etiology:

  • Primary burning mouth syndrome
    • According to research, primary burning mouth syndrome is linked to issues with taste and sensory nerves within the peripheral or central nervous system. These are not caused by any underlying condition.
    • Many people with burning mouth syndrome lose their bitter taste buds, which are found at the tip of the tongue. Researchers suggest that taste reduces pain. By losing the ability to taste bitter flavors, pain fibers are activated suddenly and cause pain. This discomfort is felt as a burning feeling in the mouth.
  • Secondary burning mouth syndrome
    • Secondary burning mouth syndrome is caused by various underlying conditions.
    • Burning mouth syndrome affects women more than men because women are more prone to acquire psychiatric illnesses and hormonal imbalances. It may induce depression and sleepiness due to persistent discomfort and irritation.


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What causes burning mouth syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome may appear suddenly or develop gradually over time. Primary burning mouth syndrome develops without a cause.

Secondary burning mouth syndrome could be related to other diseases, such as:

Studies suggest that the condition could be caused by damaged nerves in the mouth cavity. Finding the actual etiology of the disease is crucial to determine the appropriate treatment. Sometimes, it is difficult to diagnose and determine the cause.

How is burning mouth syndrome diagnosed?

There is no straightforward method to test for burning mouth syndrome. The doctor will inspect your teeth and oral mucosa and inquire about your medical history and symptoms. This will help determine the possible cause.

You may undergo the following test to rule out other potential problems:

  • Testing for thrush with an oral swab
  • Blood tests to rule out illnesses, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or mineral deficiencies
  • Assessment for psychological disorders
  • Salivary rate and taste functions
  • Investigation for gastric reflux disease

Even with the presentation of severe pain and burning in the mouth, the oral mucosa, and tongue usually appear normal, making the diagnosis difficult.

Medically Reviewed on 12/22/2022
Image Source: iStock image

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning Mouth Syndrome.

Burning Mouth Syndrome.