burning mouth syndrome, burning tongue

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. Cher
    NC
    Reply

    i think I may have this terrible syndrome as well! I have been experiencing the symptoms for approx 2 moths now. The burning tongue and also the roof of my mouth. I went to my Dr. Over a month ago and they thought maybe it was “Thrush”, so treated it with a “Magic Mouthwash”. It definitely wasn’t Thrush, I wish it was. So where to go from here? I am reading everyone’s comments and it is really depressing me thinking that there is no cure for this! How many people have tried B-Complex and Magnesium? I was researching it and thought I would try. I am in tears thinking that my mouth will always feel this way and now reading the comments here. God Bless You All and I Pray we can find relief quickly

  2. Janet
    Canada
    Reply

    My BMS started a year ago. I went to see several doctors and dentist. Mine started with a blocked salivary gland. I also had part of my jaw bone dissolve, from which I lost a healthy molar. After months of research I stumbled across BMS. I am not alone, I am not crazy. It does exist, and it does have a name.
    Research says it can be brought on by stress and menopause. That would be me. Stress has been huge in my life for a few years now. And of course menopause started as well. The stress of BMS has added immense stress as I am sure every one on this site is well aware of. I started to experience heart fluttering. It felt like my heart was going to kick it’s way right out of my chest. I wore a heart monitor for 48 hours. I do have an extra beat now, but the fluttering has calmed down.
    Food and beverages are a definite factor as to how bad my mouth feels. I have found that I have to avoid all carbonated beverages and fruit juices. I avoid all mint and cinnamon and acidic fruits. I started taking oil of oregano gel caps. I use toothpaste with no mint. At this moment my mouth is tolerable. My mouth is no longer full of sores, and I do not have a vast amount of fluid coming from my upper gums and the burning is greatly reduced. I suck on butterscotch candies to ease the dryness and I found a brand of gum that does not have acid listed on the ingredients.
    I am a smoker, I am cutting down. I hope to quit completely in the next couple of months. I do know that smoking does irritate my mouth. I have given up so much now, but I will give them up as well if it will help. Right now I have to use a plastic tip on my smokes as my upper lip cannot tolerate the feel of paper. Now how odd is that?
    I hope some of what I have tried will help you out.

    Janet

  3. Di
    Queensland
    Reply

    Hi, I’ve suffered with BMS for 4 years. Having tried everything imaginable, I have finally found some relief. Aloe Vera is used for burns. A naturopath suggested I try eating this. There is a lot on the Internet about it and even a study on BMS and aloe Vera. The plant must be the medicinal type. Taken 3 times a day – just trim the spikes off the leaves, remove all the green skin and eat the inside. Sounds crazy but I have had relief using this. I’ve been taking it for about a month now and it gets a little better each day. I’d be really interested in hearing from anyone willing to give it a try. Good luck.

    • Keith
      Chester U.K.
      Reply

      Hi,

      I found chocolate was creating my BMS.

      Hope this helps some of you.

      Keith

  4. Chris
    Stoke
    Reply

    Had this horrible bms for 2 months, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in cooled boiled water and mouthwash when mouth really burns takes the edge off. Liponic acid tablets 200mg 3 times a day. I am Waiting for allergy tests my doctor is clueless ! I’ve always be fit healthy man came on after stressed out with the baby being really ill, hope these tips help someone. Carent believe there isn’t a simple cure. Well things could be a lot worse. 👍

  5. John
    London, UK
    Reply

    My burning tongue started in late 2009. I tried everything, What helped me from summer 2013 was taking Rich’s MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) Max, 1200mg 3 times a day after food, Wholesale Nutrition’s C-Salts, 1/4 teaspoon (approximately 1000mg vitamin C) dissolved in a quantity of water to be drunk between meals and sunbathing in just trunks in the midday summer sun for, to begin with, very short periods of time (5 mins each side). Do not dissolve the MSM in water as it will quickly evaporate. I stopped noticing my burning tongue after 6-12 months. My skin and nails improved too.

    An unexpected side effect was my vitamin B12 status rising to within the low end of the normal range after having been chronically low since 2009. Sulphur is needed for good skin and it has always been assumed we get enough in our diets. Maybe industrial farming methods has impacted on that. I took the view that the protocol I used improved my skin on the inside, which includes the tongue and digestive system.

    NB When we expose our skin to the sun it actually makes vitamin D sulphate, and cholesterol sulphate which is needed by the heart (look up Dr Stephanie Seneff).

  6. Henrietta M.
    sydney Australia
    Reply

    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.

  7. Emily
    Chicago, IL
    Reply

    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.

  8. panda
    QLD
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      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?

  9. Grace
    Reply

    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
      USA
      Reply

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

      • Catherine
        Florida
        Reply

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

    • Yasemin M.
      Surrey
      Reply

      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.

    • Ellen
      Chicago
      Reply

      For 3 years I have had BMS Direct result of dental work pulling my upper teeth which should never have been done. I now have implants but this started 2 months after teeth were pulled. Scale of 1-10 in pain I am a constant 10. Dentists kept telling me there was nothing wrong. This saliva change was normal and taste change. Never sick a day in my life I ended up going to the mayo clinic and being tested for everything turns out diagnosed with BMS. Been tested for autoimmune diseases allergies to dental materials you name it. BMS I am miserable. Came home saw other Dr’s hoping they were wrong. Had mouth biopsy done everything comes back normal all the time. Every test done. I have no idea how I’m going to live with this pain. I have tried everything. The only relief I get at all is chewing sugarless gum and it doesn’t last long. I’m on zanex and anti depressants which I have never taken pills before. Saw 2 neurologists put me on a number of drugs to see if anything helped lyrica, amtripaline numerous drugs, dosages and milligrams. No help. I have to work I can not believe how my life has been ruined by a dentist. I have no one to blame but myself but I trusted the dentist and foolishly listened. So to answer this question yes 100% happened to me from dental work. I still cannot believe it. A nightmare. I’m reading thru here hoping to find something I haven’t tried to help me. Thanks for reading this and taking the time.

  10. Shirley
    Ireland
    Reply

    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
      connecticut
      Reply

      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!

  11. Russell
    Austin, TX
    Reply

    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.

  12. OhMy
    Reply

    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.

  13. Hanne D.
    Reply

    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.

  14. Sdp
    Reply

    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.

  15. Crystal W
    Reply

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

  16. nancy
    Reply

    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.
    nancy

    • barbara
      las vegs , nevada
      Reply

      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
        Reply

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

    • Sylvia
      USA
      Reply

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

    • Angie
      Bismarck, ND
      Reply

      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.
      Angie

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