Tips to soothe your burning tongue


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Tips to soothe your burning tongue

The mysterious condition of burning tongue, and how you can ease the pain

The symptoms
Moderate to severe burning in the mouth is the main symptom of BMS and can persist for months or years. "For most patients, the sensation begins late morning, peaks towards evening, and often subsides by night," says Khatri-Panjabi. "While some battle constant pain, for others, it's intermittent. It's also linked to anxiety and depression, which could be the result of their chronic condition," she adds.

Other signs include tingling or numbness on the tip of the tongue or in the mouth, bitter or metallic changes in taste, and dry mouth (medically termed xerostomia) even though the salivary glands are functioning fine.

Cause and effect
While BMS can affect anyone, medical experts point out that diabetics and post-menopausal women are more prone to developing the condition. Mahim-based diabetologist Dr Sonali Patange says, "Poor functioning of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and diabetes is commonly associated with dry mouth, due to which when patients consume antibiotics, they get a burning sensation in their mouth. The mouth from the inside looks red and they are unable to eat anything, thus resulting in weakness, fatigue and weight loss."

Nerve damage due to an ear infection,, is also a common cause. "Chorda tympani, the nerve that provides sensation to the inner ear also carries sensation to the tongue. Therefore, infection in the ear may lead to neuropathy and resultant alteration of taste sensation as well as burning,"

Reflux of stomach acid (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) cannot be ruled out either, say experts. Consultant gastroenterologist at Fortis Hospital in Mulund, Dr Purushottam Vashistha, says, "The reflux of acid occurs first in the food pipe, travelling to the throat and then to the oral cavity. People with this condition experience burning wherever the reflux has travelled. Due to reflux of acid in the throat and oral cavity, patients experience bitterness and dental caries (cavities) along with burning sensations."

Other factors
Poor oral hygiene is also a trigger. Poorly-fitted dentures or allergies to denture material, oral candidiasis (a fungal infection in the mouth) as well as, oral herpes (caused by the herpes simplex virus) can cause the problem, too. Anxiety, depression, and its correlated parafunctional activities like nocturnal bruxism (grinding of teeth in sleep), or a tongue thrusting habit can set the mouth ablaze. "Nutritional deficiencies like lack of iron, folic acid or various B vitamins (predominant among vegetarians) is another key factor, as are hormonal changes among women undergoing menopause," says Khatri-Panjabi.

The diagnosis tests may include
- Blood tests to look for infection, nutritional deficiencies and disorders associated with BMS, such as diabetes or thyroid problems

- Nerve testing (quantitative sensory testing) to assess nerve damage in the tongue

- Oral swab to check for oral candidiasis

- Allergy testing for materials used in fitting dentures (some suggest there is a link between BMS and metals like nickel and mercury) or certain foods

Classification based on symptoms
Type 1: Symptoms manifest progressively throughthe day. Night time symptoms vary. Nutritional deficiency and diabetes could produce this pattern

Type 2: Intermittent symptoms through the day and some people may even have symptom-free days. Food allergy is suggested as potential cause

Type 3: Patients face continuous symptoms and are frequently asymptomatic at night. This could be linked to nerve damage.


Ruler's of Penmai
Registered User
Jul 26, 2012
Very useful tips you have presented. thank you !

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