Burning mouth syndrome literally causes a burning sensation or scalded feeling in your mouth, usually on the tongue, but can also be anywhere else. Oftentimes this is accompanied with a metallic taste or sometimes a loss of taste. This sensation varies from a constant problem to one that comes and goes. Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) has a lot of different causes and it can be very difficult to figure out exactly what the source of it is.
Primary burning mouth syndrome is caused by a dysfunction in the nerves that supply sensation and taste to your mouth and tongue. There is no test for this and is usually diagnosed when all other causes have been ruled out.
Secondary burning mouth syndrome is related to a specific cause… of which there are a lot!
- Dry Mouth – Consistent use of a mouthrinse specifically formulated for dry mouth can help in these cases.
- Thrush – See our section on thrush for more information on it’s causes and how to treat and prevent it.
- Allergies to certain products – Products can include certain toothpastes, dyes, food colorings, and food additives. The only way to figure out what is causing it is to remove one thing from your routine at a time.
- Nutritional deficiencies – The most common deficiencies are the B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B9, and B12) as well as iron and zinc. Taking a supplement, especially one with a B vitamin complex will often help resolve this type of burning mouth condition
- Acid reflux – Acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the tissues in your mouth leading to the burning sensation.
- Lichen planus – This is a type of autoimmune disease in which your body attacks certain cells. The most common thing you’ll see in the mouth is a spiderweb like pattern of white lines.
- Geographic tongue – Geographic tongue is something you are usually born with and occasionally it can cause some burning.
- Some medications such as high blood pressure medications
- Acidic drinks – As with acid reflux, the acid in these drinks can irritate the tissues in your mouth.
- Heavily abrasive toothpastes
- Ill fitting dentures
- Stress or anxiety