Dr. Dan Peterson
Dentalnotes pg 2 Summer 2004
February 28, 2005
What is Is?
Burning Mouth Syndrome is a common yet complex problem that causes the individual to experience a burning or scalding pain on the lips, tongue and sometimes throughout the mouth. There are often no visible signs of irritation. The cause of the syndrome may be caused by the onset of menopause to vitamin deficiencies. About 5% of the population, usually people over the age of 60 are affected with this condition. It often occurs more frequently in older women , often in menopausal women.
burning sensation in mouth, throat, lips and tongue.
scalding feeling
dry mouth,
bitter or metallic taste
taste alterations
changes in eating habits
changes in medications
pain which can be gradual and spontaneous, intensifying as the day goes on
interferes with sleep
restlessness that may cause mood changes, irritability, anxiety and depression
Conditions associated with this condition:
onset of menopause
deficiencies in iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cobalamin
complications to cancer therapy
1/3 of people say BMS symptoms appear shortly after dental procedure, recent illness, or medication course.
70% of cases have no specific diagnosis for symptoms and doctors are unable to pinpoint the source, it may occur from:
dry mouth, tongue thrusting
irritating or ill fitting dentures
thrush or fungal infections
nerve disorders or damage
psychological factors. depression, anxiety
acid reflux
Sensitivity to the material of the denture
Medical history is taken. Oral causes for BMS will be determined by taking an oral swab or biopsy to check for thrush. Dry mouth examination along with seeing general physician or specialist for other blood, allergy, liver or thyroid tests.
Will vary depending on the cause. For the 70% of people where no diagnosis can be pinpointed, your dentist will treat the symptoms through topical rinses, anesthetics, antidepressants (to mask the burning sensation that occurs on the tongue by changing the brain chemicals) in low doses or capsaicin (a red pepper derivative that works by overwhelming the mouth by providing the pain with a distraction.).
Thioctic acid may be a treatment for burning mouth syndrome:
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS): double blind controlled study of alpha-lipoic acid (thioctic acid) therapy.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) has features of a neuropathy and could be related to the production of the toxic free radicals that are released in stress situations. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant able to increase the levels of intracellular glutathione and eliminate free radicals. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid in the therapy of BMS. METHOD: This was a double blind, controlled study conducted for two months on 60 patients with constant BMS. Comparing alpha-lipoic acid (test) with cellulose starch (placebo), there was no laboratory evidence of deficiencies in iron, vitamins or thyroid function and no hyperglycaemia. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Following treatment with alpha-lipoic acid, there was a significant symptomatic improvement, compared with placebo, with the majority showing at least some improvement after 2 months, thus supporting the hypothesis that burning mouth syndrome is a neuropathy. This improvement was maintained in over 70% of patients at the 1 year follow-up. Femiano F, Scully C. Stomatology Clinic II, University of Medicine and Surgery, Napoli, Italy. femiano@libero.it
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