Do you experience a burning tongue or mouth when you haven’t even eaten anything spice or hot? Some people have what is known as burning mouth syndrome (BMS), which can cause a lot of discomfort in your mouth. Burning mouth syndrome can make its appearance around menopause and postmenopause, yet not everyone recognizes it as being associated with these life stages. How about you? Is your mouth trying to tell you something?
What is burning tongue and mouth?
Burning mouth syndrome is a burning sensation that occurs in the mouth and doesn’t seem to be related to an oral lesion or any findings from laboratory studies. Although many different areas of the mouth can be affected, the front two-thirds of the mouth and the tip of the tongue are the sites that are impacted most often. The symptoms typically include pain, burning, tingling, hot, scalding, tender, or a numb sensation in the mouth. Typically, BMS presents as mouth pain, changes in taste and salivation, and no visible mucosal lesions in the mouth.
These symptoms may come up quickly or slowly and the pain may be gradual or sudden. The burning sensation may be the most severe by late evening, and this can make it more challenging to fall asleep, although you may be able to sleep better overall.
Although the exact cause of burning tongue and mouth has not yet been identified, a number of risk factors or causes have been named. They include:
- Eating spicy foods
- Speaking excessively
- Chronic stress
- Nerve damage
- Consequences of a dental procedure
- Nutritional deficiency, including B vitamins, iron, and zinc
- Menopause or other hormonal changes
- Use of certain medications, such as some blood pressure medicines
- Extreme allergic reactions
- Thrush (oral yeast infection)
- Depression or anxiety
Why does burning tongue and mouth occur during menopause?
If burning tongue and mouth develop around the time you are entering menopause or postmenopause, hormone changes are believed to be the cause. It’s been shown that about 18 to 33 percent of postmenopausal women have burning mouth syndrome. However, it may not be the only reason you are experiencing the uncomfortable sensations that accompany this phenomenon,
so it’s a good idea to review the other possible reasons and then try several different ways to remedy it naturally.
How to treat burning tongue and mouth naturally
A number of prescription medications are administered for burning tongue and mouth, but natural remedies can be just as effective if not more. Help with managing these symptoms may come from the following natural remedies:
Acidic foods: Avoid acidic foods, such as lemons and other citrus, tomatoes, and pineapple, as well as spicy foods.
Aloe vera: Try some aloe vera juice. Swish a tablespoon of the juice in your mouth for about a minute several times a day.
Alpha-lipoic acid: The natural supplement alpha-lipoic acid may be helpful. In a placebo-controlled study, 60 individuals with BMS were given either a placebo or the supplement for two months. Most of the people who took lipoic acid improved after two months, and more than 70 percent of them maintained it after one year.
Baking soda: To help reduce swelling and pain, rinse your mouth with a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 ounces of warm water several times a day.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, which can be helpful if any of these issues are part of your burning mouth problem. Oil pulling with the oil—swishing the oil in your mouth for about 15 minutes, then spitting it out and rinsing your mouth with warm water—may provide some relief.
Cold water therapy: A natural response to fighting heat is to cool it down, so sucking on ice chips, sipping cold water, or eating an ice pop can help to reduce the burning sensation.
Milk of magnesia: To treat a sore tongue, apply a small amount of milk of magnesia on the affected areas.
Vitamins: Sometimes BMS or a sore tongue can be caused by a vitamin deficiency, including zinc, iron, folate, vitamin B1, B2, B6, and B12. A multivitamin/mineral may be helpful.
when to see a health provider
If you experience symptoms of burning mouth syndrome that are having a negative impact on your quality of life, then you should consult with your physician. This syndrome can involve more than one cause, so you and your doctor may want to explore allergies, food intolerances, and a few other issues that may be contributing to your pain and intolerance and work to resolve them.
A burning tongue and mouth can be an uncomfortable problem and one that can often be addressed using natural methods. If these fail, you should talk with your healthcare provider.