Why Tooth Care is So Important Even When They're Healthy

Can You Spot The Signs And Symptoms Of Burning Mouth Syndrome?

by Rene Jacobs

While some mouth pain is easy to diagnose, the chronic burning sensation and loss of taste that accompany burning mouth syndrome can be more challenging. If you've taken an impatient sip of hot tea or bitten into a piping hot cookie, then the burning pain that follows is uncomfortable, but has a clear cause - that first, painfully hot bite. Chronic burning pain in the mouth, lips or gums, however, is different, and may be caused by a variety of issues. Determining why your mouth is burning is the key to prompt and effective treatment and the faster you head to the dentist, the faster your pain will be alleviated. 

Burning Mouth Syndrome Symptoms:

  • Ongoing burning pain of the gums, lips, inside of cheeks or tongue without any apparent cause
  • Loss of taste or inability to taste anything but the strongest flavors
  • Strange or metallic taste in mouth
  • Excessively dry mouth 
  • Increased thirst

Diagnosis and Treatment

Some cases of chronic burning mouth are caused by lifestyle. From using tobacco products to consuming a lot of mint or cinnamon flavored mints or gum, it is possible to cause a burning sensation without an actual burn. Stress, nighttime teeth grinding and even your dentures or plate can also cause the chronic pain that is the main sign of burning mouth syndrome. Since your burning mouth could be related to a medication that you take or an underlying and diagnosed health condition, it is important to work with your dentist to determine the cause. While treating your symptoms will provide relief, the condition could reoccur if the underlying problem is not addressed. 

Your dental exam will include observation of the affected areas, cultures or tests as needed and possibly imaging; your dentist will also ask questions about your diet, lifestyle and overall health. Treatment for burning mouth syndrome may include lifestyle and dietary changes, medication and the resolution of any underlying health conditions found by your dentist or doctor. From eliminating tobacco to increasing your water intake and even modifying your medication, a comprehensive treatment plan devised by your dentist will help alleviate your discomfort. 

If you are feeling the pain of a burn -- but haven't actually burned yourself, a visit to the dentist can help address your pain and get you on the road to recovery. Since burning mouth syndrome is best diagnosed by an oral care professional, you should make an appointment as soon as you suspect you have a problem; chronic burning mouth pain will likely not resolve on its own.