Does your tongue feel like it has just been scalded by hot coffee? You may have what is known as burning mouth syndrome (sometimes referred to as burning tongue syndrome).
There are multiple causes for this painful, burning sensation of the tongue, gums, palate and other areas of the mouth. The reason can be challenging to pinpoint as individuals can experience more than one cause at a time.
Make an appointment with your dentist or doctor to inquire what may be the cause, and how it can be remedied. The following are some of the minor causes of burning mouth syndrome.
1. Dry mouth
When your mouth does not have enough saliva to stay wet, you get that dry, sticky feeling known as dry mouth. This is another oral condition that can be caused by different factors, such as diseases that affect the salivary glands, some medications or natural hormonal changes. Chronic dryness can contribute to a burning sensation or soreness in your mouth.
Solution: Your dentist may recommend keeping your mouth moist by drinking more water and sucking on sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum. Using a saliva substitute will also combat the dryness and keep your mouth healthy.
2. Nutritional deficiencies
A deficiency of some key nutrients can also be a source of your tongue tingles. Deficiencies of B vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc can contribute to burning tongue syndrome by affecting the health of your oral tissues.
Solution: Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts, seeds and healthy proteins. Talk to your doctor before taking nutritional supplements.
3. Mouth irritation
Drinking too many irritating beverages, over-brushing your tongue, and overusing your mouthwash can irritate mouth tissues.
Solution: If you are experiencing a burning sensation in your mouth, try to drink fewer or less acidic drinks.
Talk to your dentist about your oral hygiene habits to determine whether they could be causing some of the irritation.
4. Medication side effects
One of the possible burning tongue causes is the use of certain medications. Some drugs may cause soreness and dryness of the mouth.
Solution: Inform your doctor if you are having side effects due to medications you are taking.
5. Oral conditions
The burning can also be caused by another oral health condition, such as oral thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth. Or it could be geographic tongue, a condition as curious as it sounds which coats your tongue with a map-like surface.
Solution: Luckily, your dentist can navigate these strange territories, diagnose, and provide options to reduce the discomfort.
Fight the fire: final thoughts
While some of the possible causes of burning tongue are easy to identify, others aren’t so obvious. Hormonal imbalances, nerve damage and allergies are just some of the medical issues that can cause this condition.
But you can take steps to curb or quell this curious fire. Take good care of your oral and overall health with good oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet and regular dental appointments. Talk about your symptoms with your dentist, and find out if you need to see your doctor for further testing and diagnosis.
Original content by Brenna Stone