Every so often, Dental.Net will take a look at some of the lesser-known, but potentially harmful diseases and conditions that can affect your oral health and overall well-being.
The majority of the issues that we will be exploring are off of most peoples’ radar. They are not discussed,very much, if at all, in the print and television media or even on social media. When you are suffering from any symptoms that are related to these conditions and diseases, you might feel like you are out on an island, alone. Don’t feel that way. Dental.Net is here to inform and your Dentist is always there for you,to help.
In some instances, medical researchers are still trying to discover a cure for these mysterious diseases. All too often, leading experts in the field of Dentistry are not even sure how or why a particular condition develops in a person. In Dental offices and medical labs across America;there is an ongoing process consisting of research and clinical trials in an effort to combat these issues that quietly affect millions of men and women.
One of the worst of these conditions is BMS. BMS is medical shorthand for an extremely painful and stress-inducing condition known as Burning Mouth Syndrome. Burning Mouth Syndrome is not something that you can really talk about with friends or family, like cavities and tooth whitening. Most people will have no idea what you are talking about.
They will look at you ,wide-eyed, as though you are describing a disease from a science-fiction movie. But BMS is,unfortunately, all too real. People who have BMS often describe it as a burning pain in their mouth. The primary source of pain is usually the tongue. But, Burning Mouth syndrome can also affect ones’ lips, inner cheeks,gums and the upper portion of the mouth ( your Palate).
Patients report that the onset of pain can be very swift and sudden. There are no minor, preliminary warning signs or symptoms. The pain just seems to appear,one day, on the tongue,on the palate and doesn’t go away. Sometimes, the pain is so bad,it feels as though the patient has gulped down a mouthful of steaming hot coffee or tea. Others report a more moderate, but still , annoying pain.
BMS is a chronic condition. Once most people get it, the symptoms persist every day and can last for months or years. Symptoms can vary from person to person. Some patients report a tingling feeling or a sensation of numbness on their tongue. Frequently, BMS patients tell their dentist that food tastes differently ,now. Some patients have a strange metallic taste in their mouth. Others just lose their sense of taste. Dry mouth and increased thirst are quite common among people with BMS.
Damage to ones’ sensory nerves of both the peripheral and central nervous system is thought to be partially responsible for what is known as PRIMARY Burning mouth syndrome. When every lab test comes up negative and your dentist and physician cannot positively identify any abnormality , your BMS will be classified as idiopathic or primary.
SECONDARY BMS is attributed to an underlying medical condition; one which you and your doctor already know you have or a complication or disease that is discovered through specific tests. Whichever form of BMS that you may have, this condition doesn’t cause any physical changes to your tongue or other areas of the mouth.
Burning Mouth syndrome is extremely hard to diagnose,simply because there are no specific tests for it. No one is sure what causes this condition,hence the mystery attached to BMS. At one point in time, Dental professionals theorized that BMS might be caused by eating really hot, spicy foods. This did not prove to be the case,although, if you do have BMS, it would certainly be wise to eliminate such foods from your diet.
Experts believe that oral and physical issues that may be linked to Burning mouth syndrome are acid reflux, fungus infections such as oral thrush, diabetes and certain thyroid conditions.
Blood pressure medications are also in the BMS-trigger loop as are Vitamin deficiencies like Vitamins B-1 Thiamin, B-2 Riboflavin, B-9 folate. A lack of iron in your system could also present a potential problem.
If you wear dentures, there is cause for concern regarding possibly developing BMS. Dentures that are too tight or tend to be lose and slip around in your mouth when you eat and speak can irritate your tongue. For those people who brush their tongue and are too abrasive with their hand action, a bout of BMS could be in their future.
Metal based dental materials could serve as a trigger mechanism,especially if you have had a lot of involved dental work done recently. Some patients are allergic to the metals that are used in dentures or implants.
BMS is “Silent” when it comes to making a diagnosis because there are no visual cues or symptoms that a dentist or physician can see when conducting an examination. The process of elimination worked wonders when Sherlock Holmes had to solve a mystery . Dentists utilize this criteria and methodology when dealing with Burning Mouth Syndrome.
Your dentist will review your medical history to look for clues and will probably have you undergo a series of tests, before making a final diagnosis. The most important of these tests are salivary flow, Imaging,( which includes an MRI or CT scan), oral swab ( the cultures taken from your mouth will tell the lab if you have a fungal, bacterial or viral infection), as well as Allergy testing.
Dentists can treat the symptoms of BMS with a variety of medicines, so,eventually, you should obtain the relief from pain that you seek. To help alleviate the burning sensation, most dentists advise their patients to sip a cold drink such as fruit juice or ice water. However, it’s best to avoid juices such as orange and grapefruit,or Lime that are high in acid content. Lemonade makes the list, as well. Avoid soda or even lightly carbonated drinks like Seltzer water.
If you are suffering from BMS, you CAN do Brunch. But, skip those very popular bottomless brunch options. Any kind of alcoholic beverage, from Margaritas to Mimosas, will only serve to irritate your symptoms.
Don’t underestimate the psychological impact that BMS can have on you. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand with this condition. You may have difficulty in falling asleep.
There’s no real pattern to Burning mouth syndrome. For some people, the pain starts early in the morning and subsides towards nightfall. For others , the morning is a time of relief from the unrelenting pain, which grows worse as the day progresses.
Seek the support of those who are close to you and don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional, if you feel that it’s all getting to be a little too much to handle. Until the pain finally goes away, use all of the tools at your disposal to manage BMS and its’ insidious effects.
Above all, don’t allow BMS to destroy the quality of your life. Together with your Dentist ,take the fight to BMS and discover the winner within you.