What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

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What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that involves recurrent burning in the mouth without any explanation. The condition can cause discomfort all over your mouth and lips. The burning sensation can be extremely intense. The condition generally appears suddenly but can develop gradually over time. While it can be treated, the specific cause often cannot be determined. If you experience this condition it’s important to work with your dentist on treatment options as the condition can affect your daily life.

What are the Symptoms?

While you will likely know when you are experiencing burning mouth syndrome, there are more symptoms than just the burning sensation. Below you will find some of the common symptoms of the condition.

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Taste changes, including a bitter or metallic taste
  • Loss of taste
  • Tingling, or numbness

In addition to these symptoms, the syndrome has several different patterns in which it appears. It may occur on a daily basis getting worse as the day goes by. It may start as soon as you wake up and last all day. Lastly, it may come and go with no real pattern. Whichever pattern you have, the syndrome can last months to years. While it can sometimes go away on its own, most often treatment is required.

What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

The condition is categorized into two classes, either primary or secondary.

Primary: When nothing through clinical or lab tests can be identified, the condition is referred to as primary. Research suggests that primary burning mouth syndrome is related to issues with taste and sensory nerves in the peripheral or central nervous system.

Secondary: The condition can be cause by an underlying medical condition. In this case, the condition is categorized into the secondary classification. Below you will find some of the underlying conditions that may cause secondary burning mouth syndrome.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies: A lack of iron, zinc, folate, and any of your B-vitamins could cause the condition.
  • Dry Mouth: This can be caused by certain medications, health issues, a side effect of cancer treatment, or problems with your salivary glands.
  • Acid Reflux: This is when acid from your stomach travels up and into your mouth.
  • Blood Pressure Medications: Other medications may cause it, but this is the most common.
  • Mental Health Issues: This could include anxiety, depression, or stress.
  • Allergies: If you have a reaction or allergy to food, fragrances, dye, or additives.

What are the Risk Factors?

While the syndrome is uncommon, there are some factors that may put you at a higher risk for getting it. Below you will find some of the common risk factors.

  • Gender: The condition is more common in women.
  • Age: Those over the age of fifty are at a higher risk.
  • Medical Condition: If you are currently perimenopausal or postmenopausal.
  • Autoimmune Conditions: Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and other chronic disorders can increase your chances of getting burning mouth syndrome.
  • Mental Health Conditions: Those who have anxiety, depression, or experience high levels of stress.
  • Trauma: Experiencing traumatic life events has been linked to the syndrome.


While there is no way to prevent burning mouth syndrome, you should take precautionary steps for good oral health. This includes avoiding tobacco, acidic foods, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages. It also involves reducing stress levels and addressing any undiagnosed mental health issues.

Dentists in Encino, California

The team at Encino Family Dental specializes in a variety of dental issues, including treating burning mouth syndrome. Dr. Marian Yassa is a highly educated and experienced dentist. She has worked with numerous patients with a wide variety of dental issues. Dr. Yassa and her team at Encino Family Dental are eager to help with any of your dental issues, so contact the office for an appointment today!

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