What is Burnt Tongue Feeling, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Burnt Tongue Feeling?

Burnt tongue feeling generally tends to occur after having something to eat or drink that is too hot. Usually, standard first aid treatment reserved for burns will work for a tongue burn. While a mild burn on your tongue is a nuisance, it eventually heals on its own. However, in case of a severe tongue burn, you should immediately seek medical help.

There are many cases where you feel a burning feeling on your tongue, but there is no actual burn. This condition is known as burning tongue syndrome or burning mouth syndrome. It is also known as idiopathic glossopyrosis.

Burning tongue syndrome causes a burn feeling in your mouth or on your tongue. This sort of a feeling can develop suddenly and it can occur anywhere in your mouth, not necessarily on the tongue only. It is usually felt on the tongue, lips, or the roof of your mouth even. It is possible that this condition can become a chronic condition, or it may even occur periodically and disappear after some time.

What is Burnt Tongue Feeling?

Symptoms of Burnt Tongue Feeling

Most common symptoms of burnt tongue or burning mouth syndrome include:

  • A scalded or burning feeling that commonly affects the tongue, but may also be felt on your lips, palate, throat, gums, and even the entire mouth.
  • A feeling of having dry mouth and constantly feeling thirst.
  • Change of taste ranging from a metallic to bitter taste in the mouth.
  • Loss of taste.

The feeling of a burnt tongue can range from being mild to severe and varies from person to person. In milder cases, burnt tongue sensation may just cause a little bit of tingling or numbness.

Symptoms of burnt tongue feeling may last for a long period of time or it may disappear after some time. It makes it difficult to eat or drink as there is a constant discomfort or even pain in the mouth. In some cases, people experience some relief after drinking and eating.

Causes of Burnt Tongue 

In people suffering from burning tongue/mouth syndrome, there really is no specific cause of the ailment. There are two types of burning mouth syndrome and they are differentiated on the basis of the cause.

  1. Primary Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

    Primary Burning Mouth Syndrome has no particular cause. In fact, burnt tongue feeling is also a symptom of many other diseases. Therefore, diagnosis of this type of Burning Mouth Syndrome becomes difficult. To correctly diagnose, your doctor will run some tests, including:

    • Oral swab
    • Blood test
    • Salivary flow test
    • Allergy test

    If there is no underlying condition that can cause BMS as a symptom, then your doctor will diagnose you with primary BMS. 

  2. Secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

    There is an underlying cause of secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome. The cause varies from person to person and possible causes include:

    • Dry mouth
    • Allergies
    • Hormonal changes
    • Medication
    • Acid reflux
    • Mouth infections and Inflammations like Oral Thrush and Oral Lichen Planus.
    • Nutritional deficiency of vitamin B, iron, and zinc.
    • Bruxism
    • Excessive use of mouth wash too can cause burnt tongue feeling

    Menopausal women or older women are more likely to experience burnt tongue feeling or Burning Mouth Syndrome. It also affects premenopausal women. Due to hormonal imbalance, or a drop in estrogen levels, premenopausal or menopausal women are more likely to suffer from Burning Mouth Syndrome. The decrease in estrogen causes a reduction in the production of saliva, causing a metallic taste in the mouth, and also triggering a burning sensation in the mouth or tongue.

    It is said that hormonal replacement therapy may help in relieving some symptoms of burnt tongue feeling or Burning Mouth Syndrome in menopausal women.

Treatment of Burnt Tongue Feeling

In order to treat burnt tongue feeling, it is necessary to first treat the underlying condition that is causing it. 

Acid reflux will be needed to be treated with medications that neutralize the stomach acid, thus providing relief from burnt tongue feeling. If you are suffering from dry mouth, then your doctor will prescribe medications or products that will help increase the production of saliva, or you will need to take vitamins or supplements for any underlying vitamin deficiency. A mouth infection causing burnt tongue feeling will be treated with prescription medications or a pain reliever. 

In case of primary Burning Mouth Syndrome, wherein there is no underlying problem, you will have to take some necessary precautions to ease your symptoms. These include:

  • Drinking cold liquids throughout the day to get relief from burnt tongue feeling. 
  • Sucking on ice chips to lessen the burning sensation.
  • Avoid having acidic foods such as citric fruits to ease the burnt tongue feeling.
  • Over time, you will be able to identify foods and drinks that worsen or trigger the burnt tongue feeling. You should then limit your consumption of these triggers. Also, limit your consumption of spicy foods and hot beverages.
  • Changing your toothpaste can also help, especially if you notice that the burning sensation worsens after brushing your teeth.
  • Keep your stress levels low by practicing relaxation techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation, and others.

Conclusion

There is really no known way of preventing burnt tongue feeling. You can try avoiding tobacco, spicy and acidic foods, and carbonated drinks. Also, avoid being overly stressed. By following these, you will be able to reduce the pain and discomfort and also prevent your condition from getting worse. If you feel that the burnt tongue feeling is becoming worse or has started interfering with your day-to-day life and activities, then you should consult your doctor to get proper medical help.

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