Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a complex condition characterized by a persistent burning sensation in the mouth, often affecting postmenopausal women. While the exact cause remains unknown, it is important to evaluate patients thoroughly and rule out other potential oral health issues in order to find the most effective form of relief.
Strategies to ease burning mouth focus on addressing underlying causes and managing symptoms to improve the patient’s quality of life. Diagnosis may involve conducting blood tests to assess parameters such as complete blood count, fasting glucose, iron levels, ferritin, folic acid, vitamin B-12, and thyroid function.
Treating any identified deficiencies or addressing specific systemic conditions can help alleviate BMS symptoms. That said, there is no guaranteed method for instant relief from (BMS), though there are some strategies that may provide temporary relief from the discomfort.
Home remedies for burning mouth syndrome
While collaborative efforts between dental professionals, healthcare providers, and patients are crucial in effectively managing this enigmatic syndrome, there are several home remedies that may help alleviate symptoms and provide relief.
Here are some effective strategies:
Sip on Cold Water to stay hydrated.
Taking small sips of cold water can help soothe the burning sensation temporarily and provide some relief. BMS can be aggravated by a dry mouth, so it’s crucial to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Adequate hydration helps maintain saliva production, keeping the mouth moist.
Rinse with Mouthwash or Baking Soda Solution
Gently rinsing your mouth with a mild, alcohol-free mouthwash or a mixture of water and baking soda can help alleviate the burning sensation. This can be done several times a day as needed.
To prepare baking soda, add 1½ teaspoons of baking soda to 1/3 cup of warm water and swirl it around your mouth. If the burning sensation extends to your throat, gargling with the mixture can also be beneficial.
Using a natural toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be irritating, is recommended. Homemade baking soda toothpaste, containing ingredients like coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint essential oil, and trace minerals, can be a good alternative.
Apply Ice or Cold Compress
Placing a small ice cube or a cold compress on the affected area of the tongue or inside the mouth can help numb the area and provide temporary relief from the burning sensation. Ensure you wrap the ice cube or cold compress in a thin cloth before applying it to avoid direct contact with the skin.
Sugar-Free Gum or Lozenges
Chewing on sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free lozenges can help stimulate saliva production, which may temporarily relieve the dry mouth associated with BMS and reduce the discomfort.
Utilize the Benefits of Honey
Honey has soothing properties and is known for its ability to aid in healing. Applying a thin layer of honey to the tongue can provide relief and alleviate pain associated with BMS. However, it’s important to note that this remedy is based on anecdotal evidence, and individual results may vary.
Identify and avoid foods or beverages that may worsen your symptoms. Spicy, acidic, or hot foods, as well as tobacco, alcohol, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, and caffeine, can irritate the mouth and exacerbate the burning sensation. Opt for bland, cool, and soothing foods instead.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies, particularly of Vitamin B12, Iron, and Zinc, can contribute to BMS. Including foods rich in these nutrients in your diet can help alleviate symptoms. Good sources may include:
- Vitamin B12 – beef and chicken liver, salmon, sardines, tuna, organic yogurt, turkey, and raw milk.
- Iron can be obtained from leafy green vegetables like spinach, lentils, sardines, beef, and beef liver
- Zinc-rich foods include lamb, beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Research published in the journal Oral Medicine and Pathology suggests that ALA supplementation can be effective in improving BMS symptoms. A daily dose of 600 mg of ALA was found to be beneficial.
Although the exact mechanism of how ALA relieves symptoms is not fully understood, it is known for its antioxidant properties and its potential benefits in various health conditions. Increasing the intake of foods rich in ALA, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and grass-fed meats, can also be helpful.
Capsaicin, a compound found in hot peppers, has been shown to improve BMS symptoms. Research studies have indicated its safety and efficacy when applied orally. In fact, studies have reported symptom improvement in 80 percent of patients who used capsaicin.
The recommended approach is to create a rinse with a gradually increasing concentration of capsaicin, starting with a 1:2 ratio of hot peppers to water and building up to a 1:1 ratio or the highest tolerable concentration. This rinse can provide a numbing effect and relieve pain and discomfort for several hours.
Practice Stress Management
Stress can contribute to the intensity of BMS symptoms. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, cycling, or other stress-reducing activities, as well as practicing good sleep habits such as getting sufficient sleep, can help reduce symptoms and improve overall well-being.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and use a mild toothpaste. Avoid abrasive oral care products that can further irritate the oral tissues. Keeping good oral hygiene can help prevent any additional discomfort or irritation.
Medications for BMS relief
When seeking instant relief from Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS), several medications may be prescribed by your healthcare team. These medications aim to alleviate the symptoms and provide temporary relief. They include:
- Painkillers: Painkillers specifically designed to target nerve pain, such as certain types of analgesics or topical anesthetics, may be prescribed to help manage the burning sensation and oral pain associated with BMS.
- Saliva Replacement Products: Since BMS can be accompanied by dry mouth (xerostomia), saliva replacement products like artificial saliva or moisturizing mouth sprays/gels may be recommended. These products help alleviate oral dryness and improve overall comfort.
- Oral Rinses: Certain oral rinses, such as those containing lidocaine or other numbing agents, may provide temporary relief from the burning sensation and discomfort associated with BMS. These rinses can be used as needed to alleviate symptoms.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants: Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), have been found to be effective in managing chronic pain conditions, including BMS. These medications can help regulate pain signals and provide relief from burning mouth symptoms. However, it’s important to note that these medications may have potential side effects and should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
- Sedatives: In some cases, sedatives like clonazepam (Klonopin) may be prescribed to manage the discomfort and improve sleep quality for individuals experiencing severe burning mouth symptoms. These medications can help relax the nervous system and provide temporary relief.
- Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsant medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), have been used to manage neuropathic pain, including BMS. These medications work by stabilizing nerve activity and reducing pain signals.
Keep in mind that each individual’s response to medication may vary, and it’s crucial to discuss the possible side effects and benefits with your healthcare provider.
While these home remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s important to remember that they may not work for everyone, and individual responses may vary. Moreover, they are not meant to address the underlying cause of BMS. Although burn mouth syndrome is not dangerous, it’s still important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and to develop a comprehensive management plan for long-term relief from BMS.
Management of burning mouth syndrome should be tailored to each individual, taking into account their specific symptoms, medical history, and response to different treatment modalities. Close collaboration between the patient and healthcare provider is crucial to finding an effective management plan for BMS.
Regular follow-up appointments should be scheduled to assess the treatment’s progress and make any necessary adjustments.