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Burning Mouth Syndrome

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Burning mouth syndrome is often associated with women in after menopause. The burning sensation feels like the mouth has been burnt with hot coffee with the exception that is does not go away. It usually happens in the tongue and often associated with the ability of bitter taste. The symptom gets worse over the day and it can continue for months or even years. The bitter taste ability located at the tip of the tongue inhibits pain and when it is gone, it will produce pain that is interpreted as burning mouth syndrome.

Burning mouth syndrome can be diagnosed using a spatial taste test or local anesthetic. In the taste test, patient with this syndrome often loses the ability of bitter taste and when subjected to local anesthetic at the tip of the tongue, the pain usually gets worse rather than getting better.

The reason why burning mouth syndrome is common in postmenopause women is directly related to the loss of estrogen production. It can affect the ability to taste bitter flavors that results in the pain fibers start becoming painful. There is also a relationship between anxiety and depression with burning mouth syndrome although it is difficult to tell which is the precursor; the pain or the psychological changes.

There are also other causes of burning mouth syndrome and one of it is the recent change in your diet and lifestyle. Check the following list and make necessary changes:

  • New food introduction. Maybe you are allergic to it.
  • Changing toothpaste and mouthwash. Try switching to plain baking soda without mouthwash to see if the pain disappears. Or switch back to your regular brand.
  • Having dental work done like amalgam fillings can cause reactions to some
  • Smoking literally burns your tongue. Stop smoking.
  • Alcohol can cause burning sensation. Stop drinking.
  • Have you taken new medications? It may due to its side effects

There is no medication specifically approved for burning mouth syndrome but some drugs like clonazepam that works in the taste system. Remember that any drugs should also be taken with doctor advice and if the pain is not severe, you can try chewing ice chips or chewing gum to reduce the pain. Iron, zinc, vitamins B12, folic acid supplements may also help but you should establish the need with your doctor first.

Keeping a good oral health should always be practiced, as plague can contribute in burning mouth syndrome. Visit your dentist at least every 6 months to check for loose fitted dentures and a thorough checkup. It can also prevent gum related disease and gingivitis.

If you are experiencing other major menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, depression together with burning mouth syndrome, consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Most of menopause symptoms are related to hormones and you may find that your burning sensation subsides when taking HRT. Synthetic HRT may present side effects to some women and you should weigh its benefits before use. Natural HRT using herbs and supplements offers an alternative option that is generally has lower risk that you can consider. Remember that you should consult your doctor before starting any treatment whether synthetic or natural to avoid any complications.

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