New research urges more rigorous standards when diagnosing
all burning mouths are the result of a medical condition known as “burning
mouth syndrome” (BMS) and physicians and researchers need better standards for
an appropriate diagnosis, according to new research at the School of Dental
Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
is a painful, complex condition associated with a chronic or recurring burning,
scalding or tingling feeling in the mouth—sometimes accompanied by a metallic
taste or dry mouth sensation.
because other conditions have similar symptoms, diagnosing BMS can be difficult,
said Milda Chmieliauskaite, a researcher and assistant professor of oral and
maxillofacial medicine at the dental school.
“The issues with misdiagnosis, depend to some extent on the context, but include resources, money and patient discomfort,” she said. So if a patient is misdiagnosed with burning mouth syndrome, but actually suffers from burning due to dry mouth, the patient will receive treatment for the wrong condition and the symptoms of burning will not improve.
“Often, these patients see several providers—taking up a lot of health-care resources—before they find out what’s going.”
because many dentists and clinicians aren’t trained well on the topic, she
said. The current method for making a diagnosis is ruling out other disorders.
lot of the other things that cause burning in the mouth (such as diabetes,
anemia and dry mouth) can be easily treated,” Chmieliauskaite said.
specific cause of BMS is uncertain, she said, but some evidence shows that it
may be related to nerve dysfunction. Sometimes, chewing gum or eating certain
foods lessens pain symptoms.
Best estimates are that between .1% and 4% of the population is affected by BMS, Chmieliauskaite said. The condition affects females more.
a review of clinical trials internationally between 1994 and 2017, Chmieliauskaite
and an international research team found that many of the participants may have
had an underlying condition that could have explained their BMS symptoms.
said BMS clinical trials need more rigorous standards. “We need a consensus for
a single definition of BMS that includes specific inclusion and exclusion
criteria,” she said. “This will help us in moving the field forward in
understanding of the actual disease.”
there’s still a lot more we need to study,” she said.
For more information, contact Colin McEwen at email@example.com.