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burning mouth syndrome

What is burning mouth syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome refers to a burning sensation in the mouth that is ongoing or recurring. This burning feeling can affect the gums, tongue, lips roof of the mouth, inside of the cheeks and the entire mouth in general. For some people, the burning sensation can be compared to severely burning your mouth or scalding your mouth with hot water. This condition may appear suddenly, or it can appear slowly over time.

What are the symptoms?

glass of water

  • Burning or scalding sensation that affects parts of the mouth or the entire mouth
  • A mouth that feels dry
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in taste (metallic or bitter taste in some cases)
  • Loss of taste

Some people report discomfort that intensifies as the day goes on, while others may experience the symptoms throughout the day. Some people also have symptoms that come and go throughout the day. These symptoms may last a few months to many years. Symptoms can suddenly disappear on their own or occur less frequently in rare cases. Eating and drinking may temporarily relieve some of the symptoms for some people. Patients may have difficulty falling asleep and eating. They may also suffer from anxiety and depression in some cases.


Burning mouth syndrome is classified as having a primary or secondary cause. It is referred to as a primary cause when there are no abnormalities detected in the patient. It is called secondary burning mouth syndrome when the cause is due to a medical condition.

partial denture

Possible secondary causes include:

  • Xerostomia (dry mouth) –  may be due to certain medications, health issues, impaired salivary gland function or the cancer treatment side effects
  • Oral conditions – fungal infections of the mouth (thrush), an inflammatory condition referred to as oral lichen planus
  • Nutritional deficiency – lack of thiamin, zinc, iron, zinc, folate, riboflavin, cobalamin, etc
  • Dentures ill-fitting dentures may cause stress on muscles and tissues in the mouth, or they may irritate mouth tissues due to their material make-up
  • Allergies – to certain foods, flavorings, additives, food dyes or dental materials
  • Acid Reflux – stomach acid that enters your mouth from your stomach
  • Habits – tongue thrusting, biting the tip of your tongue, grinding or clenching your teeth


There is no exact treatment available for primary causes of burning mouth syndrome. Treatment mostly relies on addressing individual symptoms that you experience. Treatment for secondary causes focuses on treating conditions that may be causing the issues. Possible treatment options include:

medication pills

  • Saliva substitutes
  • Certain oral rinses
  • Certain pain relievers that contain capsaicin
  • Clonazepam – an anti-convulsant medication
  • Certain antidepressant medications
  • Nerve pain-blocking medications
  • Behavioural therapy


If you experience any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from burning mouth syndrome. Contact us for more information.


About Dr. Joseph Salvaggio

Dr. Joseph Salvaggio, DDS

Located in Brampton, Ontario Dr. Joseph Salvaggio has been practicing general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry for over 20 years. He enjoys interacting with his patients and helping to restore their oral health for better overall health as well. Meeting new patients, interacting and educating them is one of Dr. Salvaggio’s biggest joys. We encourage you to read our reviews or call us with any dental questions you have. We look forward to speaking with you and meeting you soon.

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