Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) can be a distressing and painful condition, leaving those affected searching for answers. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of BMS, its various causes, and the factors that put individuals at risk of developing this challenging disorder. Understanding these aspects can be the first step toward finding effective treatment and relief.

What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning Mouth Syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by a persistent burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, tongue, lips, and sometimes the throat. This discomfort, often described as a scalding or scorching feeling, can range from mild to severe.

Understanding the causes and risk factors associated with Burning Mouth Syndrome is essential for those affected and their healthcare providers. By identifying potential triggers and seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can take proactive steps towards managing this challenging condition and finding relief from the discomfort it brings.

Types of Burning Mouth Syndrome:

While the exact cause of BMS remains elusive, it can be classified into different types based on potential causes and triggers. BMS can be categorized into three primary types, each with its own set of potential causes:

Primary BMS:

Primary BMS is the most common form, where the burning sensation persists without any underlying medical conditions or identifiable triggers. The exact cause of primary BMS is not fully understood, making it a challenging condition to treat.

Secondary BMS: 

Secondary BMS occurs in conjunction with other medical conditions or factors that can contribute to the burning sensation. Some common causes and triggers for secondary BMS include:

  • Oral infections, such as thrush or candidiasis.
  • Psychological and mood disorders, such as depression.Burning Mouth Syndrome causes infographic
  • Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins B and iron.
  • Hormonal changes, especially during menopause.
  • Allergies or sensitivities to certain foods or dental materials.
  • Medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or medications for high blood pressure.
  • Dry mouth, which can be caused by certain disorders.
  • Reaction to medical treatments (such as certain drugs and radiation therapy).

Idiopathic BMS:

Idiopathic BMS is a subset of primary BMS where the cause remains unknown, despite thorough medical evaluation. It is often considered a diagnosis of exclusion when all other potential causes have been ruled out.

Risk Factors: Who is Likely to Develop Burning Mouth Syndrome? 

While Burning Mouth Syndrome can affect anyone, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of its development:

  • Gender: BMS is more commonly reported in women, especially during menopausal years.
  • Age: Middle-aged and older adults are more susceptible to BMS.
  • Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression can exacerbate BMS symptoms.
  • Oral Health: Poor oral hygiene and dental problems may contribute to secondary BMS.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors and medications for high blood pressure, have been linked to BMS

When to Seek Treatment: 

If you suspect you have Burning Mouth Syndrome or are experiencing persistent oral discomfort, it’s crucial to seek professional medical evaluation. A thorough assessment by a healthcare provider can help determine the type of BMS and identify potential causes or contributing factors. Early diagnosis and tailored treatment plans can significantly improve your chances of finding relief and regaining your quality of life.