Burning Mouth Syndrome

What the heck is burning mouth syndrome? Ever hear of it? You may even have it and not know what it is.

BMS can have several manifestations. Most common is a burning/hot/tingling sensation on the tongue. It can also be a weird metallic taste in the mouth, accompanied by dryness. Feeling as if you ate something nasty and you just can’t get that taste to go away. The sensations can sometimes last for days. I have it periodically, and it is truly awful. Brushing your teeth and mouthwash helps momentarily, but it is short-lived. Chewing gum has the longest-lasting effect, but only as long as you can stand to chew it. Drinking copious amounts of water seems to make the duration a bit shorter. When I have an episode of it, I just want it to GO AWAY!!

Most people who have it are postmenopausal women. The main theory seems to be that it is caused by diminished estrogen or progesterone, but there is nothing scientific to base this on. Depression and anxiety are closely related to BMS, but it isn’t known if this is a cause or a result. My guess is that it’s a result. When it goes on for many days, it does make me anxious and depressed. It’s like fighting a demon in your mouth.

There is a whole laundry list of possible causes, which I assume are listed because of health histories given by those who have complained about BMS. None of them are definitive or can be pinpointed as Yes! This is what causes BMS! One guess, and this, along with the postmenopausal effect, is what I suspect may be the cause of mine—I’m a “super taster.” That means that I have a tendency to push my tongue against foods, or what I jokingly refer to as the “smoosh factor.”

Brownies are most likely my greatest “smoosh factor” food. I love the way they feel when you bite into them, when I “smoosh” them against the roof of my mouth. That sounds kind of gross, but you know what I mean. Don’t you?

Theory:  I made brownies two days ago. Yesterday the BMS arrived on my doorstep. Hmmm.

Resolution: Either stop making brownies, or stop eating them (not gonna happen), or stop smooshing them. Where is the joy?

There is no known treatment available.

Ugh. Just another way of life telling me I’m getting old.

10 thoughts on “Burning Mouth Syndrome

  1. I swear you’re the most interesting person I know. Never heard of this, never heard of super tasting. Even if it is the result of smooching your brownies, that’s pretty strange. Why on earth would the body react that way?? If science can figure out why seaweed interacts with its environment the way it does, you’d think this would be a no-brainer for some endocrinologist/neurologist/biologist. Have you always had this?

    I think you’ll have to be stern with your tongue. It’s the only way.

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    • Oh my lord, if I’m the most interesting person you know, I worry about you. Maybe you meant I’m the weirdest person you know. 😉 That’s probably it.

      I don’t know why the body does the strange things it does sometimes. Maybe it’s trying to tell me something I don’t want to hear, like stop eating so damned much of smooshy foods. ‘Cause, you know that can’t be good for me.

      Apparently, in the cases of postmenopausal women, it usually begins within three to eight years following menopause. In my case, it was about eight years in, which would be about three or four years ago. It isn’t chronic, but it is acutely annoying and troublesome.

      I am stern with my tongue every single morning, but my brain forgets by 10 a.m. Ha!

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  2. Never mind the syndrome. It’s that smooshing business that seems — well, odd. Now I’m sitting here thinking about how I eat. I can’t remember ever smooshing — except maybe ice cream.

    I’ve never heard of the syndrome. My personal quirk is occasional bouts of smelling cigarette smoke when there clearly isn’t a cigarette within smelling distance. For a while, I thought it was apartment living — the smoke wafting from one apartment to another. But then it started happening in my car — a new one, that no one ever has smoked in. I got online, and discovered it’s also very common. You’ve reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve had an episode: maybe three months. If I’m lucky, it will be a few more months before it happens again. Weird.

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    • Linda, I guess you aren’t a super taster. Texture in food has always been number one for me, over flavor, and that’s why the smoosh factor gets me in trouble, I suppose.

      I’ve heard of phantom smells. I actually have one of those, too. It’s ammonia. Every once in a while I can smell it when there isn’t any present. It is a very weird sensation. It doesn’t happen often, thank goodness.

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  3. You’ve got me laughing about the smooshing.

    Reading these symptoms makes me wonder. I have dry mouth, but mostly in the morning. It’s probably from mouth breathing. I don’t know. It is gross. I brush and gargle as soon as I get up and then drink something. It’s awful.

    I’m going to try smooshing. 🙂 Anything that can enhance the taste of brownies is my kind of thing.

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    • If yours goes away with brushing, it probably isn’t BMS, but I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV. 😉

      You can’t go wrong by smooshing a brownie, or smooching one either. 😀

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