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What Is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Dr. Hassan Nisar

1 min read

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Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is the name given to the disorder whereby there is recurrent and chronic burning in the mouth without an obvious cause. Mostly this discomfort affects the gums, lips, tongue, palate and widespread areas of the whole mouth. The burning sensation mimics scalding of mouth and can be pretty severe.

Cause of BMS:

The exact cause of this disorder is not known, but it is classified mainly as primary or secondary BMS. For primary BMS, no investigation or clinical sign could be determined as the related cause.

In secondary BMS, some underlying pathology could be identified. The symptoms can develop suddenly, or they could develop over time, and then suddenly worsen. The underlying problems linked with secondary BMS include:

Dry mouth:

Certain syndromes or medication can cause dry mouth known as xerostomia. The overall salivary gland function is reduced, thus causing dry mouth. It could also be a side effect of chemotherapy.

Oral infections:

Fungal infections of the mouth, such as oral thrush, and inflammatory conditions could result in this disorder as well.

Nutritional deficiencies:

Multiple deficiencies such as those of minerals and vitamins—zinc, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, iron and cobalamine could cause BMS.

Acid reflux:

Many times, GERD is the culprit behind BMS. GERD involves the backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This causes burning sensation in the throat and chest.

Psychological factors:

Anxiety, depression and stress can all lead to BMS.

Oral habits:

Biting of tip of tongue, or teeth grinding could both be associated with BMS.

Endocrine disorder:

Hormonal imbalance such as that seen in diabetes, or underactive thyroid could both lead to BMS.

Risk factors:

Even though the exact cause is not known, the incidence of BMS has been found to be higher in certain populations. These include: people above the age of 50, gender association—women are more likely to get this disorder, peri- or post-menopausal period. Some other risk factors include having a recent illness, medications, traumatic life events, allergic reactions to food, chronic medical disorders like Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia or autoimmune disorders.


BMS is a complex pain disorder, and as such, what treatment works for one individual may not work for another. Your healthcare provider or a general physician may prescribe certain medications to help with the symptoms, such as pain and dryness of the mouth. Moreover, treatment of the underlying cause such as oral thrush or nutrient deficiency can also help in eradication of BMS.

Other ways to manage BMS:

There are some other helpful tips to manage BMS. These include: sucking ice chips to ease the burning sensation, sipping cold beverages, chewing sugar free gum. In order to minimize the triggers, avoid smoking, hot spice food, alcohol containing mouth wash, tobacco and citrus food that have a high acid content.

If you are having similar symptoms, then seek the help of a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Book an appointment with a top general physician in Multan, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Hassan Nisar - Author Dr. Muhammad Hassan Nisar is an ENT Specialist practicing in Multan. Dr. Muhammad Hassan Nisar has the following degrees: M.B.B.S., F.C.P.S. and has 12 years of experience. Dr. Hassan's qualifications and experience make him a trusted ENT doctor in Multan with patients rating him highly for his services. He also likes to write on problems of the ear, nose, and throat. You can find the links to these articles down below.
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