burning mouth syndrome, burning tongue, wasabi crisis

Some very painful conditions can be difficult to treat. The diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome implies that any obvious causes of pain have been ruled out. Finding a way to cool the burning sensation is a significant challenge.

Q. I have burning mouth syndrome. For at least two months, my mouth and tongue have been burning as if I had scalded them.

I’ve seen my dentist, dermatologist and primary care physician. They can find no disease. I tolerate only tepid drinks and bland foods; I brush my teeth with baking soda, as toothpaste burns.

I’ve tried rinsing my mouth with coconut oil, salt water, peroxide rinse and a mouth rinse for dry mouth. Nothing helps. Do you have any remedies?

A. The cause of burning mouth syndrome is frequently a mystery, making it exceptionally hard to treat. In this condition, there are no obvious diseases apparent in the mouth, although the pain can be excruciating. Some experts suspect that it is caused by a disorder of the nerves that serve the mouth, tongue and lips.

Medications That May Be Responsible

Some medications may trigger this problem; reactions to blood pressure pills such as enalapril, eprosartan or lisinopril have been reported in the medical literature.

Deficiencies That Could Lead to Burning Mouth

A vitamin B deficiency (B1, B2, B 6, B12 or folic acid) may also be responsible. Low iron or zinc levels might contribute.

Ask for a blood test to check your status. If any of these nutrients is low, a supplement might help.

An objective review of research found that alpha-lipoic acid may also be helpful (Cochrane Library, Jan. 24, 2005). This natural product is sometimes used to ease the pain of diabetic neuropathy, so it makes some sense that it might help with other forms of nerve-related pain.

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  1. Carol

    Made myself this tumeric milk, and within seconds my tongue burned like crazy! Perhaps it was just too strong. (?) Rinsing with salt water helped immensely. And making sure NO disolvable vitamins , are used whatsoever!.

  2. Nanou

    I have used baking soda (bicarbonate soda) to rinse my mouth (1tbs in a glass of water) every time the symptoms appear (but no more than 3 times a day) and it made a huge difference almost immediately. I also found that cutting out sugar completely helped a great deal. Now I can go on without the baking soda if I stay off the sugar. If I stray, the burning comes back and I have to hit the baking soda again. I also avoid white carbs (pasta, bread, rice) but not sure whether that’s helped or not. I started having BMS when my blood sugar became high. I was eating well but too much fruit. There seems to be a definite correlation in my case, so I recommend giving it a try.

    • DorisK

      In reply to Nano:
      I have tried everything myself for this burning mouth syndrome. I have had it for year and gone to an ENT, a regular doctor, and a dentist. I have tried most of the suggestions that the commenter SPELICAN has given. Now I am swishing with coconut oil for 20 minutes. Spit out into the garbage then rinse twice and use Anbesol. I’ve been doing this for four days, and the pain is almost all gone but if it comes back I will try the turmeric supplements and B vitamins and maybe try swishing with salt water. I am also using a mouthguard because the dentist thinks I am either clenching or grinding my teeth.

  3. SPelican

    I’ve had burning mouth and tongue for a year now. It’s hell. I am finally making progress, the pain beginning to back off with the strategies I’ve listed below. As you can see I’ve been trying hard, and you can beat it too!:
    1. SWIMMING (for stress relief).
    2. ACUPUNCTURE (to stimulate saliva and relieve pain)
    3. TURMERIC supplement — remarkable!
    4. B VITAMINS, everyday, for months. Finally working.
    5. IRON
    6. “TACROLIMUS” ointment — prescribed by oral surgeon
    7. RAW COCONUT OIL mouth swishing…. nice
    8. R-LIPOIC ACID (just starting this), may try ALPHA-LIPOIC
    9. HERBAL LOZENGES – sugar-free mint-free
    10. SLS-FREE GEL TOOTHPASTE, Jason brand
    11. MEDITATION… stress relief & sleep assistance
    12. CUT DOWN ON COFFEE & WINE, acid foods

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