The cause of burning mouth syndrome can be classified as either primary or secondary.
Primary burning mouth syndrome
When no clinical or lab abnormalities can be identified, the condition is called primary or idiopathic burning mouth syndrome. Some research suggests that primary burning mouth syndrome is related to problems with taste and sensory nerves of the peripheral or central nervous system.
Secondary burning mouth syndrome
Sometimes burning mouth syndrome is caused by an underlying medical condition. In these cases, it's called secondary burning mouth syndrome.
Underlying problems that may be linked to secondary burning mouth syndrome include:
Feb. 07, 2013
- Dry mouth (xerostomia), which can be caused by various medications, health problems, problems with salivary gland function or the side effects of cancer treatment
- Other oral conditions, such as a fungal infection of the mouth (oral thrush), an inflammatory condition called oral lichen planus, or a condition called geographic tongue that gives the tongue a map-like appearance
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of iron, zinc, folate (vitamin B-9), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and cobalamin (vitamin B-12)
- Dentures, especially if they don't fit well, which can place stress on some muscles and tissues of your mouth, or if they contain materials that irritate mouth tissues
- Allergies or reactions to foods, food flavorings, other food additives, fragrances, dyes or dental-work substances
- Reflux of stomach acid (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) that enters your mouth from your stomach
- Certain medications, particularly high blood pressure medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Oral habits, such as tongue thrusting, biting the tip of the tongue and teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Excessive mouth irritation, which may result from overbrushing your tongue, using abrasive toothpastes, overusing mouthwashes or having too many acidic drinks, such as lemon
- Psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression or stress
- Burning mouth syndrome. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/Burning/BurningMouthSyndrome.htm. Accessed Nov. 12, 2012.
- Garza I, et al. Central craniofacial pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 12, 2012.
- Burning mouth syndrome. The American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/patients/burning-mouth-syndrome. Accessed Feb. 1, 2013.
- Torgerson RR. Burning mouth syndrome. Dermatologic Therapy. 2010;23:291.
- Schiavone V, et al. Anxiety, depression, and pain in burning mouth syndrome. Headache. 2012;52:1019.
- Mendak-Ziólko M, et al. Evaluation of select neurophysiological, clinical and psychological tests for burning mouth syndrome. Oral Medicine. 2012;114:325.
- Klasser GD, et al. Management of burning mouth syndrome. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. 2011;77:b151.
- Spanemberg JC, et al. Aetiology and therapeutics of burning mouth syndrome: An update. Gerodontology. 2012;29:84.
- Pigatto PD, et al. Burning mouth syndrome. SkinMed. 2012;10:134.
- Coping with chronic pain. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/chronic-pain.aspx. Accessed Nov. 13, 2012.
- Torgerson RR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 11, 2013.
- Davis MDP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 20, 2012.
- Steele JC, et al. Clinically relevant patch test results in patients with burning mouth syndrome. Dermatitis. 2012;23:61.