When it is not possible to find a cure for any ailment – that ailment is generally termed a “syndrome”.
A characteristic burning sensation on the tongue or sensations of pain (feels like the tongue is paining and you want to press or pull the tongue) are predominant symptoms of the burning tongue syndrome. There are times when the burning seems to move, from the tip of the tongue to the middle and sometimes to the throat. Talking can cause the pain or burning to increase.
The mouth also feels very dry and the lips feel cracked and tend to burn.The burning tongue sensation can also be a fallout of the dry tongue syndrome.But the dry tongue syndrome treatment is different.
You feel you have a sore tongue though on examination it appears perfectly normal.Sometimes the tongue has cracks.The sore tongue feeling can be attributed to the cracks that are caused due to dryness.Keeping the tongue moist will help.Sometimes you can see some red sores on the tongue and the insides of the cheek.If the canker sores are visible , they should be treated by a dentist/physician.
These burning sensations generally always have a cause. Once the cause is addressed, the symptoms subside and over time completely disappear. They can come back, if the causes are back.
When you experience a burning sensation that does not go away or improve on it’s own for a week, it is time to check and see if there is something you are doing wrong.
- You could have had flu recently with a sore throat for which you have not been treated with antibiotics. Please see a physician about that.
- You could have changed toothpaste recently. Almost always that is a cause. Changing over to a very mild toothpaste , a children’s tooth paste for sometime will help alleviate problems
- It is time to take stock of your teeth. Do you have rough edges and broken teeth that could be making small cuts on your tongue? Do you have a cavity? Did you get some dental work done recently ? Any implants ? Get a check up with your dentist first.
- Next would be to examine medications that you might have started recently. Fish oil capsules can cause dryness of the tongue-a feeling that suddenly your tongue is stuck in your mouth and is in need of constant moistening. For the time being stop any new medications you might have started and check with your physician who may suggest alternatives.
- Check out your diet. Have you been eating too much of junk food like chips, spicy foods, popcorn? Sometimes eating a lot of popcorn can cause the lining of the tongue to burn. The salt contained in the popcorn sold at movies has a great amount of salt in it that can cause such problems. Stop eating junk food completely. Stop all spicy foods and shift to a diet of mild vegetables, a lot of yogurt and water. Stop drinking coffee and tea. Most of the times , a burning tongue is an obvious symptom of acidity and once you stop all this and take medications prescribed by your physician for the acidity – you will find the symptoms of burning start to subside. One way you can make out if the burning is related to acidity is to make a small concoction of a glass of water and a teaspoon of soda bicarbonate. Gargle with this. You should be able to taste the mild sweet of the soda bicarbonate. If on gargling you feel a definite reduction, then your burning problem is related to acidity. You can gargle 2-3 times for a few days if the burning is very severe. This definitely reduces the burning and the pain, but will not cure it completely till the acidity is treated. It will take at least 3-4 months before the burning comes to 1 on a scale of 1-10.You need to consistently sleep on raised pillows and eat light small regular meals.
- Stress- one very important cause of acidity and also the burning tongue is stress. If you have recently lost a loved one or relocated to a new country or are under job stress you can definitely develop such symptoms. Make sure that you are making efforts to reduce this.
Examine each of these potential causes , find the one that needs to be treated, take the treatment for the same and you will find your burning will reduce and slowly go away after sometime.
If even after all these causes have been probed and everything is normal but the burning is still going on , then it could be gynecological- menopause related- or it could sometimes be related to a cranial nerve that is damaged, for which your physician will suggest seeing specialists. There are many treatments that specialists will the carry out which are aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
In any case, the burning tongue syndrome is worrisome, irritable but never fatal. When eating food the burning goes away completely. Eating small dry grapes are great for the burning sensation. Learning to take your mind off the problem, following relaxation techniques and practicing cognitive behaviour therapy will help you in the long run.