Everyone recognizes the terrible sensation of taking a sip of coffee before it’s cooled, or biting into that piping hot slice of pizza and the scalding cheese sticks to the roof of your mouth. Your mouth burns, and all you want to do is gulp ice water. The pain can last several days if you burn it badly.
What Is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
How terrible, then, if you felt that sensation at random times with no provocation and no way to eliminate the pain as it does nearly 5% of Americans? Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) occurs when the nerves don’t send or process information correctly, leading to a constant burning sensation in the lower lip, the top of the tongue and/or the roof of the mouth.
A new article in the latest issue of General Dentistry says menopause may be to blame in some cases for its damage to the nervous system, according to Medical News Today. The official cause is technically unknown, but researchers say that sufficient evidence leads to these hormonal changes as at least one cause. Though it doesn’t only affect women, the study showed that women in menopause and post-menopause are 7 times more likely to experience BMS.
Treatment for BMS
Since you can’t see any physical signs of the syndrome, it often goes undiagnosed, leaving patients to suffer with BMS indefinitely. Even so, there’s currently no cure, but physicians who are able to identify BMS can help patients manage the symptoms. As far as we know, the condition is not life-threatening or degenerative, but it’s painful and interferes with a person’s quality of life.
Those suffering from BMS can take a few steps to help avoid the pain themselves:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco products, both of which can irritate the soft tissues in the mouth.
- Avoid foods that are acidic (tomatoes, orange juice, etc.), spicy or hot to keep the irritation at a minimum. This can include food with a lot of cinnamon, as well, since it’s a natural irritant.
- Drink water regularly throughout the day. This helps keep the mouth lubricated and the body hydrated. Chewing sugarless gum can also increase the flow of saliva.
Whether you just burned your mouth or you’ve been suffering from Burning Mouth Syndrome for years, these steps may help reduce the pain and provide relief, even if temporary.