Burning Sensation in Mouth, Tongue

There are many reasons of having burning sensation in mouth and throat. There can be mild causes of burning sensation in mouth and throat like drinking hot liquid, constipation, allergy, decay tooth and other more serious conditions. Of so many reasons, here are the most important and commonly discussed ones –

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  1. Burning mouth syndrome
  2. Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis

Burning mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is characterized by the painful sensation caused to the tongue, lips and palate. It also involves the feeling of discomfort or burning, to be precise, in the whole mouth. Other symptoms associated with burning mouth syndrome include dry mouth, metallic taste, irritation and numbness. There are different causes of burning mouth syndrome and its diagnosis includes examination of the mouth along with evaluation of the symptoms.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a painful, scalding sensation in lips, tongue, palate and mouth. BMS occurs commonly in the middle-aged or old women. It occurs with multitude of medical as well as dental conditions, basically caused due to nutritional deficiencies, menopause, allergies and dry mouth. But this is not the actual reason of BMS and the exact cause is still not known.

Causes: The possible causes of BMS include hormonal changes, any damage caused to nerves which control taste and pain, nutritional deficiencies, dry mouth which in turn is a result of medicines and disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes etc, acid reflux, oral candidiasis, anxiety and depression and issues with dentures.

Symptoms: Burning in mouth is the main symptom of BMS and may last from months to years. For most people the sensation arises in the morning, rises to the maximum till evening and subsides in the night. Some may feel pain constantly and for others pain may come and go. People with burning mouth syndrome also suffer from anxiety and depression which is a result of chronic pain. Other symptoms, as mentioned above, are tingling and numbness in the mouth, sore or dry mouth and changes in taste.

Diagnosis: To identify the source of burning mouth, the doctor may ask about the medical history, conduct oral examination and some general medical examination. Some tests used to diagnose the burning mouth syndrome include blood work to know any infection, nutritional deficiencies and disorders, oral swab to identify oral candidiasis and allergy testing for denture material.

Treatment: Treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome depends upon the individual depending upon the symptoms. Treatment methods may include treating existing orders, replacing irritating dentures, replace if any medication is aggravating the symptoms and using supplements for nutritional deficiencies. Certain medications are also prescribed to relieve dry mouth, control pain from nerve damage, treat oral candidiasis and relieve anxiety and depression.

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Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis

Acid reflux is a condition in which the acid from stomach leaks and reaches up to the oesophagus. It results in heartburn and other symptoms. Oesophagitis is referred as an inflammation of lining of oesophagus. In some people are sensitive to only a little amount of acid whereas some may have lot of reflux and do not have Oesophagitis.

Commonly a medicine that reduces the amount of acid created in the stomach works well to manage the condition. For some only a short course of medication is sufficient while for others the long-term daily medication is required.

Causes: Sphincter which is a circular band of muscle present at the bottom of oesophagus prevents the acid from leaking up and reach oesophagus. When the sphincter doesn’t function properly, then the acid reflux occurs. When the pressure builds up in the stomach is  higher than the sphincter can hold, the problem tends to increase.

Symptoms: Heartburn is the most common symptom. In this condition, the burning sensation rises from abdomen up towards the neck. There is a burning sensation when the person swallows hot drink. Other symptoms of acid reflux and Oesophagitis include pain in chest and abdomen, feeling of being sick, bloating, belching, acid taste in mouth, dyspepsia and uncommon cough. It is also accompanied by mouth and throat symptoms like bad breath, gum problems, hoarseness, sore throat and feels like there is a lump in throat.

Treatment: If you are a smoker, then stop smoking as this will help greatly in reliving the symptoms. Foods like peppermint, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, hot drinks, spicy food and alcohol should be avoided. Do not take medicines that irritate oesophagus such as anti-inflammatory painkillers, theophylline, nitrates, diazepam and nifedipine. Antacids and acid-suppressing medicines will help relieve the symptoms. In serious cases, doctors may also suggest surgery to tighten up the lower esophagus.

Tests: Tests are not required until the typical symptoms occur. Mostly people who experience acid leaking up into the esophagus are diagnosed with presumed acid reflux. Tests are advised if the symptoms of this condition are severe. Tests include Gastroscopy or endoscopy, test to check the acidity inside oesophagus, chest X-Rays, heart tracings etc.

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