Burning mouth syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome
Treatment triggers improvement in symptoms for many people with burning mouth syndrome. But the type of treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Dry mouth (xerostomia). Treating the cause of your dry mouth ÇƒÓ Sjogren's syndrome, use of medications or some other cause ÇƒÓ may relieve burning mouth symptoms. Drinking more fluids or taking a medication that promotes flow of saliva may help.
Other oral conditions. If the cause is oral thrush, treatment is with oral antifungal medications such as nystatin (Mycostatin) or fluconazole (Diflucan). If you wear dentures, your dentures may also need to be treated.
Psychological factors. For a burning mouth that may be caused by or associated with psychological factors such as anxiety and depression, your doctor may recommend tricyclic antidepressants or benzodiazepines, or psychiatric therapy, or both together.
Nutritional deficiencies. You may be able to correct nutritional deficiencies by taking supplements of B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron.
Irritating dentures. Your dentist may be able to adjust your dentures so they are less irritating to your mouth. If your dentures contain substances that irritate your oral tissues, you may need different dentures. You may also improve symptoms by practicing good denture care, such as removing dentures at night and cleaning them properly.
Nerve disturbance or damage (neuropathy). Your doctor may suggest medications that affect your nervous system and control pain, including benzodiazepines such as clonazepam (Klonopin), tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl), or anticonvulsants such as gabapentin (Neurontin). For pain relief, your doctor may also suggest rinsing your mouth with water and capsaicin ÇƒÓ the active ingredient in hot peppers, which may also be called capsicum.
Allergies. Avoiding foods that contain allergens that may irritate the tissues of your mouth may help.
Certain medications. If a medication you're taking is causing a burning mouth, using a substitute medication, if possible, may help.
Oral habits. Tongue-thrusting and teeth-clenching (bruxism) can be helped with mouth guards, medications and relaxation techniques.
Endocrine disorders. If a burning mouth is associated with conditions such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, treating those conditions may improve your symptoms.
If doctors can't identify the cause of your symptoms, they may still recommend trying oral thrush medications, B vitamins or antidepressants. These medications have proved effective in treating burning mouth syndrome.
By Mayo Clinic staff
September 23, 2004