Burning tongue syndrome is also known under the name of glossodynia. Apart form the pain that affects the tongue the pain may also affect other parts of the oral cavity. So there are cases of burning gums, lips, roof of the mouth and inside of the cheeks.
What Causes Burning Tongue?
In many cases the actual cause of burning tongue syndrome simply cannot be identified. Therefore, such cases are classified as primary burning tongue syndrome. On the other hand, the syndrome may be associated with other underlying conditions including damage to taste and sensory nerves of the peripheral or central nervous system, lack of saliva and dry mouth (xerostomia), allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diabetes, nutritional (especially vitamin) deficiencies, hypothyroidism and hormonal changes. Furthermore, the condition may arise from the intake of certain medications, ill-fitting dentures, oral cavity irritation and finally, it can be connected with some psychological factors. If there is an underlying cause or an illness that contributes to the onset of the condition, it is classified as secondary burning tongue syndrome.
Clinical Characteristics of Burning Tongue Syndrome
As the very name suggests the leading symptom of the syndrome is burning sensation in the tongue. Apart from that patients may complain about several more symptoms such as burning sensation of other parts of the oral cavity (gums, lips or the entire inside of the mouth). There may also be numbness or tingling sensation in the tongue. The intensity of pain tends to increase, one may feel excessive thirst, the mouth becomes dry and in severe cases there is a loss of taste.
Treatment for Burning Tongue Syndrome
The unique and completely successful treatment for burning tongue syndrome has not been developed yet. However, there are several treatment modalities as well as home remedies that can reduce the intensity of the pain and bring even other symptoms of the condition under control.
In case of secondary burning tongue syndrome patients feel much better once the underlying condition and factors that have led to the pain are brought under control. In case of primary burning mouth syndrome the actual cause is unknown. Therefore, one may need to try many treatment modalities until pain relief is completely achieved. Some of potential treatments include intake of vitamin supplements, antidepressants, oral thrush medications, anticonvulsant medications and saliva replacement products.
At home one may use cold apple juice to rinse the mouth and reduce the burning sensation. Additional help is obtained form frequent drinking of water and intake of plenty of water. And finally, temporary relief is achieved by chewing a sugar free gum and sucking on ice cubes.