Burning Mouth Syndrome And Diabetes
Diana Tosuni-O'Neill RDH, BS
Have you ever felt like your mouth was on fire? This painful sensation can make you feel as if you've scalded your mouth, and can spread to your tongue, gums, lips and inside of your cheeks. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition is called burning mouth syndrome — it has no visible signs, and it can last from months to years. We do now know that burning mouth syndrome and diabetes can be related, so it's easier to diagnose and treat in diabetics. And it doesn't have to be a life sentence. Here are the common causes of burning mouth syndrome and how to treat them.
There are many causes of burning mouth syndrome, and some people, such as diabetics and postmenopausal women, are more likely to suffer from it. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the most common causes include the following:
Damage to nerves controlling oral senses such as tasteHormonal changesNutritional deficienciesFungal infections in the mouthAcid refluxDentures that don't fit properlyAnxiety and depression
With so many possible causes, it's often difficult to clinically point out the culprit in many cases. People with uncontrolled or marginally controlled diabetes can usually narrow down the most probable causes to dry mouth, oral thrush and sometimes neurological abnormalities. Neuropathy (when nerve damage or weakness occurs to the hands and feet) may lead to oral tingling, burning or pain caused by changes in the nerves within the oral region as well.
Symptoms and Treatments
Moderate to severe burning in the mouth is one of the main symptoms of this disorder. For many people, the burning sensation begins in late morning, builds to a peak by evening, and often subsides at night. Some feel the pain constantly, but for others the pain is intermittent. Other symptoms can include dryness, soreness, tingling or numbness on the tip of the tongue or in the mouth, and bitter or metallic changes in taste.
When no underlying cause can be identified, treatments are still available to target your painful symptoms. These include the following:
Replacing irritating or ill-fitting dentures.Treating existing disorders such as diabetes.Recommending supplements for nutritional deficiencies.Switching medications, when possible.Prescribing medications to relieve dry mouth, oral candidiasis, control nerve damage pain, and to relie