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Is burning mouth syndrome (BMS) serious?

Burning mouth syndrome (also known as BMS or glossodynia) can be an indication of a more serious underlying condition, such as nutritional deficiencies or allergies. The most serious effect of burning mouth syndrome, however, is emotional and personal. Living with pain, especially chronic pain, can cause depression and anxiety. Soreness in the mouth can cause a lack of appetite and lead to weight loss. Sleep problems may develop if the pain is not relieved during the night, and stress from living with this condition can lead to job loss, family problems, and a lack of interest in life.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a condition in which you can feel as though you've scalded your mouth, tongue, and lips. In many cases, there is no discernable cause for the condition. This type is called primary burning mouth syndrome.

Burning mouth syndrome can also be a symptom of other conditions, such diabetes or underactive thyroid. When it's the result of another illness, it's called secondary burning mouth syndrome. 

Once underlying problems have been ruled out, your doctor can focus on making you feel better.  Treatment options include special medication-containing lozenges, behavioral therapy, and even mouthwashes.
While burning mouth can be highly uncomfortable or result in prolonged pain, it is not serious. For most people it can begin spontaneously. See your dentist if you are experiencing this problem so that it can be treated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.