Q. Four months ago I woke up with the tip of my tongue burning. My doctor prescribed antifungal drugs, first Diflucan and then Mycelex, which provided no relief.
Now the roof of my mouth is also burning. Do you what causes this or what can be done about it? I have had zero success with prescribed medications.

A. You may want to ask your doctor if you could have “burning mouth syndrome” (BMS). Although this condition is mysterious (no cause or cure have been identified), researchers have noted that it is associated with lower levels of magnesium (Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine, March, 2009) and vitamin B12 (European Journal of Medical Research, Sept. 28, 2001). Acid-suppressing drugs have been linked to lower levels of vitamin B12 and BMS.
Ask your physician to measure both magnesium and vitamin B12 to see whether your levels are low. If so, perhaps dietary supplements might ease your symptoms.

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  1. Henrietta M.
    sydney Australia

    Just adding my thoughts to this conversation. I have had BMS for years, and was only diagnosed after many doctors visits. I’m not sure it came on after anything specific but I am post menopausal due to an opharectomy, meaning my hormones went suddenly out of whack. I have tried everything and at times I do get periods of relief. The best thing for me is distraction, chewing gum for instance plus wearing an Invisalign mouth shield. Somehow the discomfort of the aligners seems to take away the pain. I take 20mg of Endep at night which seems to help but not totally. I am off tomorrow to try Vitamin B12 and magnesium. I find acupuncture and kinesiology can sometime give soem relief too.

  2. Emily
    Chicago, IL

    I’ve had BMS for a year. It started as a burned tongue sensation which progressed to a very dry mouth and a metallic taste. Particles of food stuck to my teeth after eating. Most foods were tasteless. One morning, I awoke with the tip of my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. I did a lot of internet research. I tried some remedies suggested by a youtube video. I changed toothpastes. I ended up with a nutritional regimen suggested by a nutritionist at OSU. I also saw my internist, an oral surgeon and my gynecologist. I was prescribed a very low dosage of HRT. Together, the vitamins, fish oil and HRT, work. I still have a touch on the tip of my tongue that feels numb as tho it was burned (there’s no neuropathy) and food can still stick to my teeth but I can taste food and the metallic taste, like I had a mouthful of copper pennies, is gone. I am on triamterene for HBP and simvastatin for cholesterol. I take no other medication. As vitamins have run out, I noticed which ones seemed to be most effective and for me its B12 and magnesium.

  3. panda

    I have also been awoken suddenly with the tip of my tongue burning like if you were to touch a burning ember to it. It has happened on several occasions now & have been starting to wonder why, I hope its just the lack of vit b :)

    • Pat
      Scarborough, ON Canada

      Hi there… I am doing some research for my aunt who has been experiencing BMS now for a year. Can you tell me if your BMS started after any dental work? ie root canal?

  4. Grace

    I started with burning lips and tongue when I had new crowns put in my mouth along with a root canal. I then had the crowns replaced with a different material since I thought it was allergy to the material. I then had so many various treatments including a bloodtest to see what I am compatible with and now am having very expensive holistic crowns put in. Since I have temps now I don’t feel relief at all and very very sick of feeling this and thinking about it day and night.

    • Sylvia

      I am researching this subject. Did you have allergy testing for specific dental materials such as acrylics, glues and bonding agents?

      • Catherine

        Sylvia, I see you are researching BMS, have you found ways to help, or do you have this?

    • Yasemin M.

      My one also started after having a crown. I was going to have it removed and have a new one which doesn’t cause allergic but after reading your post I don’t know what to do.

  5. Shirley

    Hi Jason, I’m just curious how things are for you now? My burning mouth/sore tongue started in early sept this year, I think it was because I took cinnamon from a spoon, didn’t realize it would cause a reaction. I’ve had blood tests, allergy tests, ENT, acupuncture, a herbalist, no avail! I don’t know what to do next, am I after starting off a downward spiral that I cant get out off, I’m desperate.

    • Jennifer

      Hi I have also been suffering with burning tongue syndrome. I won’t get into the whole thing as to when it started and what I was on, but I’ve been to 4 different doctors (dentist, walk-in, general, psychiatrist) no one helps at all. I have FOUND RELIEF (not a complete cure) with Orajel -mouth sore gel. I use it a lot (definitely more then it says to) the first few days and then when I feel the burning coming on. It seems to almost take it away after a few days of repeatedly using. I wish I knew about this the first 9 months I had it and suffered-so I figured I would pass it on. Good Luck!

  6. Russell
    Austin, TX

    I got severe mouth ulcers following an extremely stressful week back in July 2014. My doctor started me on antibiotics and referred me to an ENT specialist. He spent 5 minutes with me, diagnosed it as Aphthous Stomatitis (viral-mouth ulcers) and told me to stop the antibiotics to avoid a yeast infection. He said the ulcers would eventually clear up & sent me home. They did but I still got a yeast infection.

    As the yeast infection cleared up, my tongue started burning. After 3 weeks enduring my burning tongue, I went to my dentist because I thought my bite guard could be a factor. She said it was probably a B-Complex deficiency & sent me home with a 30 day sample of ACTIVATED B-Complex (I have been taking a standard B-Complex supplement for awhile). It has been just 3 days now & my tongue has quit burning!!! I hope this helps at least some of you.

  7. OhMy

    I’ve had this for at least 3 years. I’m 49 years old. When I was a young woman I had terrible canker sores in my mouth. I was at the end of my rope when I read that Vitamin B complex helped some people. I started taking high-potency B Complex and the sores went away, as soon as I would stop they came back. That lasted for about 3 years before I could taper off the B Complex.
    When the BMS came, I figured it may be the B deficiency, so I am on a B Complex and I also take 1000-2000 B12 sublingually. At first, this helped. Now, not so much. I’m going to try the Klonopin. I have had issues with my trigeminal nerve in the past and I wonder if this is some kind of nerve damage. I just hope it goes away.
    I feel so sorry for those of you above who seem to have this affect them day in and day out. Mine is relapsing/remitting. I’m also curious if anyone else feels the need to bite their tongue. To me it feels like I have blisters inside of my tongue on the edges of the tongue. In fact, when I do bite the tongue sometimes I get a pop sensation and feeling of relief (like a burn blister) painful but relieving.
    My tongue is a mess and I’ve noticed it causes bad breath no matter how often I brush/gargle.

  8. Hanne D.

    Its awful! I know exactly how you feel. But I have only had it for 3 months. I take Neurontin 300 mg (Gabapentin)+ paracetamol+ibuprofen twice a day. It works for me. Best wishes! You are not alone.

  9. Sdp

    My bms is back on and off. Sensitive toothpaste helps a lot and I think keeps it at bay as long as I also avoid some varieties of potatoes. I try and eat no more than two helpings a week and mash parsnips with a little of the water I boiled it in as a substitute at meals.
    I think some face creams and other body lotions I use on my skin are to blame for it too so I use things sparingly whenever I can and avoid them totally if my mouth is sore.
    I recently stopped eating all types of crisps because I couldn’t work out which ones made my mouth sore and now eat corn snacks instead if I want some thing savory.
    I am not taking any supplements at the moment.

  10. Crystal W

    I’ve started a Facebook group called burning mouth syndrome. Please feel free to join!

  11. nancy

    Susie, the tears flow from my eyes as I read this and live this 24 hours a day….I want to thank you so much for sharing what so many of us are experiencing. In the past I have written several times my frustration for lack of cure…. and continue to do so.
    I award you kudos because I thought 8 years was over the tops. I keep telling myself it’s the season, weather, climate, food etc. etc. AND remedies “prescribed” by the good doctors do not help. Unfortunately for all of us, there has not been the “ahaaaa” that has happened yet. BMS is one of so many unknowns….I will not go to another doctor tomorrow!!
    I want so hard to keep trying to stay positive but these days have become very challenging to the point of even talking for any length of time.
    I want to keep this positive so let’s look at the sun shining each day even when the rain is falling….there is a rainbow out there guys…so please keep in touch and I will continue to try what you recommend and will share my real “ahaaas” of day to day survival.

    • barbara
      las vegs , nevada

      I have had BMS for 7 years now. I wish someone would do a research study. I have been to doctors from A to Z. I had dental implants put in right before the burning I feel like it is nerve damage. I also have MS and take many different medications. I am at a point now that I can not eat anything and I have lost 25 pounds in the last 6 months. I get so sick and tired of the burning it just wears you out. My Neurologist is sending me to a immunologist . I know there is no cure but all I want is some control. I have found that sugar and carbs and hydrogenated oils cause it to flare but it is hard to eat as so many of our food contain these ingredients. Some days are better than others but I want to have every day be a good day.

      • Sylvia
        North carolina

        Did you have dental work done prior to onset of symptoms? I am researching this subject-Thanks.

    • Sylvia

      I am researching this subject. Did you have dental work done prior to the onset of your symptoms?

    • Angie
      Bismarck, ND

      BMS has been with me since Nov 6, 2005, that is 10 years now and I am totally frustrated. Have seen every doctor in the fields available and all to no avail. I have tried several meds and avoided foods and then reintroduced them and no changes. My last visit with a doctor was Homeopathic and was muscle tested and found I am to refrain from eating Nightshade veggies which include tomatoes, eggplant,white potatoes of all kinds. Also sulfides and corn products and corn additives in processed foods. Sure can make it difficult to prepare meal at times. I have chewed sugar free gum and as long as I am chewing it is ok but does not last.
      I first noticed my burning and swollen tongue after a trip to Tucson, AZ. I did not have Valley Fever which is what my thoughts were. I too am at a loss as to what to try next. I have read the testimonials and realize I belong to a large group of suffers from this debilitating problem.

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