Burning Mouth
The Causes and Remedies

Tackling burning mouth or known as BMS (burning mouth syndrome) is a painful condition that can affect the tongue, inside of the cheeks and roof of the mouth. It is also referred to as burning tongue or scalded mouth syndrome.


The cause can be hard to identify, which makes finding an effective treatment more difficult. But in most cases, the pain can be relieved and the condition resolved with a bit of effort.

The pain may be so severe that you feel like you have burned the inside of your mouth with a hot beverage. Even the throat can feel as if it has been scalded.

Other symptoms that patients sometimes report include tingling or numbness of the tongue, dryness, thirst and general soreness of the mouth. A strange taste or a total loss of taste may be present.

The symptoms may be constant or intermittent. It is not unusual for the condition and the symptoms to suddenly disappear without treatment. However, it is wise to see your doctor or dentist. The condition can last for years if left untreated.

Doctors refer to the condition as either primary or secondary. In the primary type, no underlying cause can be identified. Only a few studies have been conducted, as the condition is not very common. Some of the studies indicate that the nervous system is involved in the primary type.

In the secondary type, an underlying cause can be identified. Medications, chronic health problems such as diabetes and acid reflux, stress, oral yeast infections, menopause and hormonal imbalances are some of the conditions that can cause the syndrome.

Some extreme cases like Sjögren’s syndrome also known as “Mikulicz disease” and “Sicca syndrome” is a systemic autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack and destroy the exocrine glands thus produces tears and saliva.

Sometimes, the problem is an allergic reaction to food additives, artificial flavorings, dyes or fragrances. The problem could also be a nutritional deficiency or a consistently low intake of essential vitamins and minerals. A lack of any of the following nutrients could be the cause of burning tongue.

  • Folate
  • Thiamin
  • Pyridoxine
  • B-12
  • Riboflavin
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Generally poor nutrition could be the problem. A good multi-nutritional supplement could be an effective remedy.

Treating the secondary type usually involves identifying and treating the underlying cause. To provide temporary pain relief or when no underlying cause can be identified, doctors can prescribe drugs that specifically target pain in the mouth. Usually these are lozenge-type medications that dissolve in the mouth.

Whether or not a nutritional deficiency can be identified, nutritional supplements may be beneficial. Research has shown that the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid is effective in most cases of primary burning mouth syndrome. The nutrient supports healthy nerves and may help to repair nerve damage.