Burning mouth syndrome is an uncomfortable condition that can affect the lips, tongue, throat, and gums. Sufferers of this condition often feel as if their mouth has been scalded with hot water, and they may also feel as if their oral tissues are particularly sore, and some have a metallic taste.
What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?
It’s not quite clear what causes burning mouth syndrome, but it typically occurs in people who are middle-aged or older. However it can affect anyone at any age. It’s been associated with the menopause, damage to nerves, oral infections including oral thrush, and nutritional deficiencies. It can also develop as a result of acid reflux, and may be due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some people suffer from burning mouth for years, and obviously this can be quite difficult to cope with. It can create difficulties in falling asleep, leading to irritability, depression and anxiety.
Luckily most people will find that working with their dentist will help relieve some of the symptoms of burning mouth syndrome, through helping them to pinpoint the exact cause. For instance if your burning mouth is due to nutritional deficiencies then taking vitamin supplements may help relieve the symptoms.
Getting Burning Mouth Syndrome Diagnosed
If you think you may have burning mouth syndrome then it’s worth booking appointment with your dentist so they can confirm the diagnosis and work out the treatment plan. Part of this will involve reviewing your medical history and asking you to describe the symptoms. There may be some underlying cause for the burning sensation in your mouth. For instance it can be caused by dry mouth, in which case your dentist may prescribe saliva substitutes or will recommend you drink more water to keep well hydrated. Your dentist may also want to take a small biopsy, or an oral swab to check whether or not this is due to a fungal infection. Fungal infections can be treated by antifungal medication. They’ll also be checking to make sure it’s not due to any ill-fitting dental appliances that are irritating the oral tissues.
There are also a number of other things you can try to help relieve the symptoms. These include eliminating very acidic foods from your diet such as fruit juice and coffee for a couple of weeks to see if the symptoms improve. It may also help to stop smoking, or to stop using mouthwash. Some people find something as simple as changing their brand of toothpaste can help. If you are taking prescription medications then check to see whether any of the side effects include a burning sensation in the mouth. If they do then make an appointment to visit your physician to see if there are any alternative medications you may take. You shouldn’t stop taking any prescription medication without seeking proper medical advice beforehand. Your dentist or doctor may also wish to check to see if your symptoms are due to some other underlying medical condition such as abnormal thyroid functions or diabetes.
Getting a proper diagnosis can be quite a slow process of elimination, but even if your dentist cannot find the exact cause, they can at least prescribe medications to help relieve the symptoms.
For more information about burning mouth syndrome, contact Dr. Miller, your Shebly, OH dentist at Discovery Dental today.
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