BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE
Oral pain that feels like a scalded mouth and can last for months is called burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Mouth and gums appear normal with BMS, so its diagnosis is difficult. Patients often find themselves having to visit several doctors before finally arriving at BMS as the cause. People with persistent mouth pain to check for the following symptoms that might be caused by BMS:
- Persistent burning tongue and oral pain with no apparent dental cause
- Abnormal taste or dry feeling in the mouth
- Symptoms that disappear when eating
- Burning sensations may migrate across several oral areas
Even if oral pain is present without these symptoms, consulting a dentist for a thorough exam of the teeth, gums, mouth and throat is still recommended. Patients can receive relief with special mouthwashes, analgesics and other topical and systemic treatments. Between two and five percent of the U.S. population acquires BMS but the syndrome especially strikes women between age 50 and 70, and from three years before to 12 years after menopause.
Although the exact cause of BMS is unknown, the suspected origin is deterioration of the nerves beneath the oral lining. The deterioration isn’t visible, which explains why the mouth appears normal when examined and can delay diagnosis. Still unproven is the role hormones may play in BMS, given the link to menopause.
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