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Can Toothpaste Cause Burning Tongue?

Find out how patients are finding relief from oral mucositis caused by chemotherapy

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Can Toothpaste Cause Burning Tongue?

If you’ve ever burned your tongue on hot food or a beverage, you know how unpleasant it can be. For some people, this feeling is part of daily life, due to a condition called burning mouth syndrome (BMS), sometimes referred to as burning tongue.

Unfortunately, there is still much about this ailment that remains unknown, though some patients with this condition could see a cessation of symptoms if a cause can be identified. Still, someone who has to deal with a burning tongue on a daily basis might understandably want to know what in their life might be causing their discomfort and whether there is anything that can be done about it.

For example, one question that is often asked is whether toothpaste can cause burning tongue. To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ provide some answers.

What is Burning Tongue?

Just as the name suggests, burning tongue is an ailment in which the surface of the tongue feels burned or scalded. While it is sometimes referred to by this term, burning tongue is actually a sign of a condition called burning mouth syndrome, or BMS.

Those with burning mouth syndrome can experience the burning or scalding sensations mentioned above, or their symptoms could take the form of tingling or numbness; in either case, these sensation could affect the entire mouth or be limited to the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums, or palate.

Additional symptoms of BMS include dry mouth, excessive thirst, and changes in taste. Any of these symptoms could appear gradually or all at once, and in rare cases, they disappear just as quickly and mysteriously. However, most people with burning tongue or BMS have symptoms that linger for weeks, months, or even years. These individuals might have pain that remains steady throughout the day or that fades in and out; some patients report low-level discomfort that gradually worsens as their day goes on. Many people with burning mouth syndrome also say that their symptoms are alleviated somewhat when eating or drinking (Source).

Keep in mind that BMS does not refer to an actual burn to the mouth or tongue; if you recently sipped on some tea or soup that was too hot and were burned, that pain is not a sign of BMS, and your symptoms should diminish over the following hours or days. Those with burning tongue or burning mouth syndrome, however, may have lasting discomfort with no discernable cause.

What Causes Burning Tongue?

Determining the cause of a particular case of burning mouth syndrome can be difficult or even impossible, depending on the patient. In fact, there are actually two varieties of BMS; those whose doctor can find an underlying cause are diagnosed with secondary BMS, while those with no identifiable cause are given a diagnosis of primary BMS.

Testing for Burning Mouth Syndrome

Those with secondary burning mouth syndrome often have to go through an array of tests and examinations before the cause of their symptoms is revealed. Common tests for the cause of BMS include the following:

  • Blood tests
  • Oral swabs, cultures, or biopsies
  • Changes to medication
  • Imaging tests, such as MRI scans
  • Acid reflux tests
  • Allergy tests
  • Salivary flow tests
  • Psychological examinations

Common Causes of Burning Tongue

The reason so many tests are necessary, and the reason why burning mouth syndrome is so hard to diagnose, is that there are many possible causes for this condition. The following are some of the most common causes of burning tongue:

  • A lack of certain nutrients, especially zinc, vitamin B, or iron
  • An allergy or sensitivity to a food, dye, fragrance, or a material used in dental work
  • Certain medications, especially those used to treat high blood pressure
  • Hormonal imbalances caused by a disorder of the endocrine system, including diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • Psychological factors, including stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Oral infections, including those caused by bacteria or fungi
  • Extreme dry mouth, including as a side effect of chemotherapy
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux
  • Oral irritants, including abrasive toothpastes or overly acidic beverages
  • Poor oral habits, such as grinding your teeth or biting your tongue

Any one of these issues could lead to the symptoms of burning tongue or burning mouth syndrome, or none of them could be the cause. Experts believe that those with primary BMS may have damage to the nerves of the mouth linked to pain and taste, though this has yet to be proven absolutely (Source).

Toothpaste and Burning Tongue

The short answer to the question of whether toothpaste can cause burning tongue is maybe. Researchers still don’t know what exactly causes these symptoms, and because abrasive toothpastes can easily irritate the mouth, they might lead to lingering discomfort. However, it is also possible that a certain toothpaste could simply exacerbate the symptoms of BMS without being the cause of the condition. Ultimately, it should be left up to your doctor to determine whether you have burning tongue or BMS and what the best treatment might be.

Powerful Oral Ice Pack for People with Burning Tongue or Burning Mouth Syndrome

If you have burning tongue or BMS and need relief, know that the potent cooling power of the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can alleviate your pain. Though it was originally devised as a way to fight oral mucositis caused by chemotherapy, this oral cryotherapy device can nonetheless cool your mouth by as much as 30 degrees over the course of a half-hour treatment – and without the tooth sensitivity ice chips can cause.

To learn more about this simple, easy-to-use device, visit the Chemo Mouthpiece™ website or call (866) 461-7518 today.


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