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Burning Mouth Syndrome – symptoms, types and causes

When you are feeling burning in your mouth and you have no idea why this is happening, then this is a condition which is called burning mouth syndrome. It can be recurrent condition or chronic condition. When you have burning mouth syndrome, then this condition is affecting roof of your mouth, widespread areas of your whole mouth, gums, tongue, inside of your cheeks and lips. You can feel constantly that your mouth is burning. This condition in some cases is gradually developing or in other cases it is happening suddenly. The right cause for this condition is still not known. There are some cases when this condition is passing by its own but you should visit you doctor. He or she will give you the right medical treatment. Also you will know how serious your condition is. Your medical team will give you the right care which you need.

Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome

Here are the symptoms of this condition:

  • A sensation of dry mouth with increased thirst
  • Loss of taste
  • Taste changes such as a bitter or metallic taste
  • A scalded or burning emotion that most commonly affects your tongue, but may also affect your lips, palate, gums, throat or your whole mouth

Burning mouth syndrome is causing different patterns which can come and go; can occur every day with small discomfort when you wake, but this discomfort becomes worse as the day progresses or they can start as soon as you wake up and last all day. Your burning mouth syndrome can last from months to years and it depends on how serious is your condition. There are also some cases when this condition is going by its own and also there are other cases when this condition is becoming less frequent. In some cases when you have drink or meal, then you can also feel some of the mentioned symptoms. If you feel discomfort and you have soreness or burning of your gums, tongue, lips and other areas of your mouth, then you must visit your dentist or your doctor. There are many cases when your doctor and your dentist are working together because they will need to make an effective treatment plan which will help you to rid of this condition. [1,2]

Burning Mouth SyndromeTypes of burning mouth syndrome

There are two general types of  burning mouth syndrome which are classified as primary and secondary causes.

  • Primary burning mouth syndrome: When you have visited your doctor or your doctor and there is no lab or clinical abnormalities, then this condition is known as idiopathic burning mouth syndrome. There are many studies which are done for the primary burning mouth syndrome. In those studies is shown that people who are suffering from this condition, and then they have problems with their sensory nerves and taste in their central nervous system.
  • Secondary burning mouth syndrome: There are also cases when burning mouth syndrome is caused by some underlying medical condition. This is a reason why this condition is known as secondary burning mouth syndrome.

Underlying medical condition which can be a reason for the secondary burning mouth syndrome are

  1. Oral habits: These habits are including teeth grinding (condition which is also known as bruxism), tongue thrusting and biting the tip of the tongue [3]
  2. Psychological factors: stress, depression and anxiety [4,8]
  3. Endocrine disorders: hypothyroidsm which is also known as underactive thyroid and diabetes [5]
  4. Certain medications: such as medications which are used to reduce the high blood pressure
  5. Excessive mouth irritation: this condition can be caused by overusing mouthwashes, using abrasive toothpastes, having too many acidic drinks or over brushing your tongue
  6. Dry mouth a condition which is also known as xerostomia: this condition can be caused by many health problems, medications, side effects of cancer treatment or problems with salivary gland function [6]
  • Other oral conditions: a condition which is known as geographic tongue which is giving you tongue which have look like a map; oral thrush which is a fungal infection of your mouth or inflammatory condition which is known as oral lichen planus
  • Allergies or reactions: to fragrances, foods, dental – work substances, dyes, food flavorings or other food additives [7]
  • Dentures: when they are not fitting well which is placing stress of the tissues of your mouth or on some muscles or they have some materials which can be a reason for irritating your mouth tissues. [8]


[1] Aravindhan R, Vidyalakshmi S, Kumar MS, et al. Burning mouth syndrome: A review on its diagnostic and therapeutic approach. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences. 2014;6(Suppl 1):S21–S25.

[2] Kamala KA, Sankethguddad S, Sujith SG, Tantradi P. Burning mouth syndrome. Indian Journal of Palliative Care. 2016;22(1):74–9.

[3] Reyes-Sevilla M. Is burning mouth syndrome based on a physiological mechanism which resembles that of neuropathic pain? Odovtos International Journal of Dental Sciences. 2020;22(2).

[4] Galli F, Lodi G, Sardella A, Vegni E. Role of psychological factors in burning mouth syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE Journals. 2016;37(3):265-77.

[5] Cerchiari DP, de Moricz RD, Sanjar FA, et al. Burning mouth syndrome: etiology. Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology. 2006;72(3):419-23.

[6] Poon R, Su N, Ching V, et al. Reduction in unstimulated salivary flow rate in burning mouth syndrome. British Dental Journal. 2014.

[7] Coculescu EC, Parlatescu I, Gheorghe CL, et al. Burning mouth syndrome and allergens from the dental materials: a clinical study. Oral Diseases. 2014;20(s2).

[8] Abetz LM, Savage NW. Burning mouth syndrome and psychological disorders. Australian Dental Journal. 2009;54(2):84-93.

Hanan Marshal
Hanan Marshal
Hanan, a medical student (MBBS) having passion for writing and is very much interested in holistic living along with nature. He is very much interested in doing community service and watches anime and play PS4 during his free time. You can reach him through [email protected]


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