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What is Burning Tongue (or Mouth) Syndrome

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Put out the fire

For such a small part of our body it is amazing how many things can go wrong with our tongues. Many of these problems can be related to (or the cause of) a “Sore Tongue” or tongue or mouth pain.

A sore tongue is generally called “Burning Tongue Syndrome” or “Burning Mouth Syndrome” (BMS) depending on where the pain is actually located.

Perhaps you can sympathize with this poor woman…

I have had burning tongue syndrome for two years now, every doctor seems to give their opinion in whatever they specialize in, I went as far as having my tonsils out…..I am 35 years old and angry and frustrated that no one can figure out what is causing this or give me some relief!! It does help to know that other people have this……at first my family said I needed to be committed.. until recently when my mother came down with the same thing!

Can you believe that, wanting to have her committed?

And just wanting some relief?

I recently got this letter:

Dear Tim:

I have always had a geographic tongue that sometimes flares up when I eat something spicy or acidic.

I recently went to the dentist for a routine filling when the Dentist hit a nerve which caused my tongue and gums to remain numb for over a week (8 days and counting). He prescribed steroids which have done nothing to alleviate the numbness, but now I have many, many crevices that are quite deep and my tongue is on fire! I called my dentist who says that this is caused by the steroids!

I am quite annoyed both with my dentist and my doctor. Please tell me there is something I can do to soothe my burning tongue!

Thank you!

Yes! Pam,

There is something you can do about it!

Burning Tongue or Mouth can have a variety of causes including everything from Candida to a Galvanic response to your fillings.  Which is what makes it so hard to pin down.

Believe it or not

Recommended treatments for temporarily numbing a Painful Burning Tongue seem like they would be more painful but can actually help in some cases. They include:

  1. “Tabasco” or “Hot Sauce”
  2. Chewing Garlic
  3. “Tea Tree Oil”

But these are simply temporary steps you can use to “get some relief”  until you can track down the real cause of the mouth pain and eliminate it properly. In Pam’s case it sounds like a damaged or irritated nerve which is not the typical situation.

In my book, “Treating and Beating Geographic Tongue and other Tongue Problems” I do cover a variety of possible causes and in addition to the causes mentioned above there are a variety of nutritional deficiencies that can cause mouth pain, burning tongue or mouth and numerous other tongue problems.

Tongue pain can also be related to Tongue Fissures

Chapter 13 of“Treating and Beating Geographic Tongue and Other Tongue Problems” covers Tongue Fissures

Burning Mouth Syndrome can also be related to Candida (Yeast or Thrush)

According to a recent study done by the Department of Oral Surgery, Osaka Medical College, Osaka, Japan

In this study they divided the participants into three groups, those with manageable pain, those with high pain and those with mixed pain. They found that of those with manageable pain,  73.0%  tested positive for Candida when they did a culture even though only 59.5% appeared to have candida by direct examination of the doctor.

In other words, 13.5% of the time even though the Candida was there the doctor couldn’t see it! But when they did the culture they found it and in this group  when they were treated for Candida their pain subsided.  So looking at Candida as a possible cause of BMS is definitely warranted.

Chapter 16 of “Treating and Beating Geographic Tongue and Other Tongue Problems” covers Candida (Thrush specifically). But if you know you have systemic candida you may also want to  check this out.

Burning Mouth Syndrome can also be related to deficiencies and /or Menopause.

Chapter 17 of “Treating and Beating Geographic Tongue and Other Tongue Problems” covers Burning Tongue and Burning Mouth Syndrome in depth.

For more information See:



About the Author Tim McMahon

Download Tongue Problems Infographic

Often tongue problems are all lumped together as “Geographic Tongue” but there are many varieties, each with a separate solution. Our Tongue Problems Infographic displays pictures and descriptions of the most common tongue problems. To receive your copy, just enter your email address below.