Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)
August 04, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

As the name suggests, Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is a condition characterized by a burning sensation in the mouth. This condition is mostly sudden and can occur at any age. Women report more cases of experiencing BMS than men.

This burning sensation can develop in any area inside the mouth, typically on the roof of the mouth, tongue, either inside of the cheeks, or lips. It may occur on a chronic basis, or occasionally in a few months.


The characteristic symptoms of burning mouth syndrome vary from person to person, as well as its intensity and its frequency. Its intensity varies from mild to severe, while one person may have more frequently occurring episodes than the other person, depending on the chronicity.

The most common symptom of this condition includes burning pain in the mouth, enough to cause distress and discomfort to the individual. This condition feels scalding, like eating a very hot pizza, while it feels tingly and numb on mild levels.

Patients have to deal with mouth pain for hours, days, or even months, which leads to difficulty in eating, drinking and even talking. Sometimes, for some people, eating or drinking something cool may relieve this burning sensation for some time.


There are two types of BMS depending solely on the cause of the condition:

      Primary BMS

      Secondary BMS.

In primary BMS, the reason for the sudden occurrence of burning sensation in the mouth is unknown. As BMS may occur as a side effect of another disease or condition, without an identifiable cause, it is hard to diagnose and treat this condition. Doctors may check for any blood or saliva complications, any diet change that may be associated with allergies, or any other oral problems.

In secondary BMS, the cause of this condition is known and easily identifiable. These causes may vary from person to person, and the cause can be one or more than one.

These identifiable causes of BMS include allergies, xerostomia (dry mouth syndrome), fissured tongue, and reaction to medications, hormonal changes especially during or after menopause, malnutrition or nutritional deficiency such as vitamin B, zinc or iron deficiency, acid reflux or some mouth infection.

Menopause and Burning Mouth Syndrome have a deep connection between them. Most women report experiencing BMS during or after their menopause. But it also affects premenopausal women due to hormonal imbalance.

When the estrogen level drops in menopause, it leads to a decrease in the production of saliva. This Decrease in saliva production causes dry mouth and a thick, metallic taste which links to the burning sensations inside the mouth.


For primary BMS, slowly sucking on ice or sipping cold drinks throughout the day relieves the burning sensation. Also, avoiding spicy or acidic food, sodas or hot beverages, smoking and alcohol consumption, that worsen these sensations, may also help to deal with the pain’s intensity.

Other than that, toothpaste also contains some ingredients which worsen the burning pains in the mouth especially after brushing. So, changing the toothpaste to one that contains natural herbs may be effective in these periodic episodes of primary BMS.

For secondary BMS, doctors and physicians may recommend medications that deal with allergies, stomach or mouth infections, dry mouth, and that complement vitamin or nutritional deficiencies in the individual’s body. You can get the appropriate medications at Shifa4U. Generally, dealing with the secondary causes of BMS may help deal with the BMS itself.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.