Burning mouth syndrome: anxious? Depressed? Extinguish pain by analyzing overall health
Burning mouth syndrome: anxious? Depressed? Extinguish pain by analyzing overall health.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS), a painful disorder affecting mostly women, is a constant and aggravating source of discomfort for more than one million adults. Patients experience a burning sensation in their mouth, palate, lips and tongue, as well as partial or complete loss of taste, dry mouth and thirst.

New findings explain how anxiety and depression may be a precursor that triggers this difficult-to-diagnose syndrome, according to a report in the September/October 2003 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Oral habits of anxiety and depression may include repetitive tongue thrusting and bruxism (Bruxism Definition: Bruxism is the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth. It most often occurs at night during sleep, but it may also occur during the day. It is an unconscious behavior, perhaps performed to release anxiety, aggression, or anger.) (teeth grinding) that can irritate the mouth and lips and have been reported to cause BMS symptoms in up to 70 percent of patients suffering from this chronic disorder.

"Pinpointing the pain source can be a trying task for patients and their healthcare providers," explains Andres Pinto, DMD, lead report author, who states more females in their 20s and 30s are also experiencing this syndrome, oftentimes due to stress.

Other overall health conditions linked to BMS include anemia, gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD - Disorder characterized by frequent passage of gastric contents from the stomach back into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD may include heartburn, coughing, frequent clearing of the throat, and difficulty in swallowing.) undiagnosed diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and a yeast or candida infection in the mouth.

"If you have BMS, analyze your overall health and note any life-altering events or stressors that occur," encourages Lois Duerst, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the AGD.

According to Dr. Pinto, some patients experience relief after stopping their oral habits brought on by stress.

Do you have BMS? Check for:

* Burning sensations in mouth area

* Dry mouth

* Altered taste perception

* Changes in eating habits

* Irritability

* Depression

* Changes in medications

Possible treatments:

* Antifungal therapy

* Vitamin and mineral replacements

* Creams or lozenges containing capsaicin (an alkaloid irritating to the skin and mucous membranes, the active ingredient of capsicum; used as a topical counterirritant and analgesic.)

* Hormonal replacement

* Antidepressants

* Mental health counseling

* Intraoral appliances

COPYRIGHT 2004 American Dental Assistants Association
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.
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