What are the causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome?

By  , Expert Content
Dec 31, 2012

The exact cause of burning mouth syndrome is not known. In some people it may occur without any underlying cause. This condition is called primary or idiopathic burning mouth syndrome. If the syndrome is caused due to an underlying medical condition, such as a nutritional deficiency, it is called secondary burning mouth syndrome. Some common problems that may cause burning mouth syndrome include:

  • Dry mouth or xerostomia
  • Oral lesions such as oral yeast infection (thrush), oral lichen planus and geographic tongue
  • Stress, anxiety, depression or excessive health worries.
  • Deficiencies of iron, zinc, folate (vitamin B-9), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and cobalamin (vitamin B-12).
  • Denture or other oral prosthesis 
  • Damage to nerves that control taste and pain in the tongue.
  • Allergy or reaction to foods, food flavorings, food additives, or certain other substances such as fragnances, dyes 
  • Reflux of stomach acid into mouth (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors which is used to control high blood pressure
  • Certain oral habits like tongue thrusting and teeth grinding (bruxism).
  • Some endocrinal problems such as diabetes and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as in menopause.
  • Oral habits such as overbrushing of tongue, excessive use of mouthwashes

In some people, burning mouth syndrome may have more than one cause. But for many, the exact cause of their symptoms cannot be found.


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