Burning Mouth / Burning Tongue Syndrome
A small percentage of senior men and women (mostly women) develop a problem of intermittent and sometimes chronic burning sensations of their gums and tongue. This condition may be accompanied by unusual taste sensations as well. The tongue and gums may look perfectly normal but the burning sensation progresses throughout the day. Patients who experience this burning sensation may have lost some of their taste sensations though often times they are unaware of just how much they do not taste their food.
Many patients see numerous doctors in an attempt to get to the source of the problem but usually to no avail. This annoying and sometimes painful condition has been mentioned in medical literature for years but has mostly been ignored because there were no known physical reasons for the burning. Many clinicians believed it was the result of symptoms brought on by some type of emotional stress.
Recent studies have shown that there may be real physical reasons for the condition known as BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME or BMS. Scientist hypothesize that nerve damage could be caused by a virus and damage could also be the result of severe changes in hormone production. This could affect the nerve tissues of the tongue and interrupt or alter the messages the tongue receives from the brain. When the communication from the brain to the tongue is interrupted or becomes out of balance and the brain exaggerates the sensations it is sending to the mouth. This may explain the burning feeling and the phantom taste sensations that a patient experiences.
Research also states that sometimes BMS and hypersensitivity may develop because of the toothpastes or oral rinses that are used. The quickest way to remedy this situation is to change to toothpaste with only fluoride added and stop using oral rinses. The toothpastes that seem to be the biggest offenders are the toothpastes that contain pyrophosphates, an additive that is supposed to slow down the build up of calculus.
Quite by accident physicians discovered that patients who suffered from epilepsy as well as BMS saw improvement of both conditions once the epilepsy medicines were used. This information evolved into the practice of using minute doses of epilepsy medication to treat BMS.
There are also new herbal remedies that are being tried such as capsaicin desensitization.
Another form of burning tongue that may occur is called ATOPHIC GLOSSITIS and may be caused by diet, oral yeast infection or mechanical abrasion from a dental appliance or the teeth themselves. These patients have very red tongues instead of the normal pink velvety looking tongues.
Finally, be aware that any new medication or abrupt diet change could precipitate a burning sensation of the gums or tongue.
Report any changes to your dentist or health care professional.
What Causes BMS?
Recent studies have shown that there may be real physical reasons for the condition known as BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME or BMS. Scientist hypothesize that nerve damage could be caused by a virus and damage could also be the result of severe changes in hormone production. Research also states that sometimes BMS and hypersensitivity may develop because of the toothpastes or oral rinses that are used.
Are You Experiencing A Chronic Burning of the Mouth or Tongue?
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