The burning on the tongue can be a very painful and irritating symptom. 
The burning sensation on the tongue is the same sensation a person feels after drinking a very hot drink. 
This health problem is also called “oral burning syndrome” (SAB). 
In most cases, the burn is higher on the tip of the tongue (glossopyrosis), on the lips and throughout the oral cavity (palate and gums).


Classification of burning in the tongue

The causes of oral burning syndrome may be primary or secondary.

  • Primary oral burning syndrome
    When no clinical abnormalities are identified, the problem is called primary or idiopathic oral burning syndrome. 
    Some studies have shown that primary oral burning syndrome is related to taste problems or to the sensory nerves of the central or peripheral nervous system.
  • Secondary
    Burning Syndrome Sometimes the burning mouth syndrome is caused by a disease. In these cases, it is called secondary oral burning syndrome.

Some clinical problems that may be related to secondary oral burning syndrome include:

  • Dry mouth (xerostomia). This disorder may be caused by the use of certain medicines, including tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, diuretics, and medicines used to treat high blood pressure . The dry mouth can also be a consequence of aging or Sjogren’s syndrome , an autoimmune disease that causes dryness in the eyes and mouth.
  • Oral candidiasis (thrush) . The thrush is a common cause of burning sensation in the mouth can also occur because of diabetes , the use of prostheses and after taking certain medications like antibiotics and mouthwash. 
    The burning sensation of the tongue can be perceived on the front or sides. 
    Symptoms of candida infection include white tongue .


Causes of burning mouth

The pain during the day is quite variable. 
Some people say that burning is not present when you wake up, but it increases during the day. Other patients realize that the pain is constant throughout the day. 
Burning mouth syndrome most affects women, with a 7: 1 ratio. 
It usually appears in middle-aged or older adults, but it can occur in some cases, also in younger people. 
Among the causes of burning in the mouth are:

  • Nutritional deficiencies. A lack of nutrients such as iron, zinc, folic acid (vitamin B-9), thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and cobalamin (vitamin B-12) the tissues and cause the burning sensation in the mouth. These deficiencies can cause vitamin deficiency anemia .
  • Irritant dentures. Dentures and materials used in oral implants can irritate the tissues of the mouth. This happens if the dentures are inadequate, that is, if the upper and lower parts are not aligned correctly.
  • Nerve problems (neurological diseases) Damage to nerves and neuropathies can cause pain and burning sensation in the mouth and tongue; in addition, they can change the taste.
  • Allergy. The burning sensation in the mouth can be caused by an allergy or a reaction to certain foods, food flavorings, additives, dyes or other substances.
  • Gastric reflux ( gastroesophageal reflux disease ) The sour or bitter taste that feels in the mouth and that comes from the upper gastrointestinal tract can cause pain and irritation.
  • Geographical language. Geographical language is a disease that causes dry mouth, pain and irregular consistency. This condition may also be linked to burning mouth syndrome.
  • Some medications. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors  used to treat high blood pressure can cause side effects that include burning in the mouth.
  • Oral habits. Some gestures that the person performs unconsciously with the tongue may irritate the mouth, for example squeezing or grinding the teeth ( bruxism ).
  • Endocrine problems. Oral tissues may react to elevated blood sugar levels that occur as a result of diabetes or hypothyroidism .
  • Hormonal imbalances. The menopause causes hormonal changes that can cause burning sensation in the mouth. This is because hormone levels affect the composition of saliva.
  • Excessive irritation. Overuse of oral hygiene instruments, such as toothbrushes or mouthwash, or excessive consumption of acidic beverages can cause irritation of oral tissues.


Psychological dysfunction

Some mood and personality changes (especially anxiety and depression ) have been observed in patients with oral burning syndrome. However, these types of psychological disorders are typical of patients with chronic pain. 
Therefore, psychological dysfunction is caused by chronic pain and not by disease. 
The success obtained through relaxation techniques in the treatment of the syndrome is related to an improvement of the pain management strategies and not to the cure of the disease. 
Likewise, the usefulness of antidepressant medications and some benzodiazepines is closely linked to their analgesic and anticonvulsant properties (and the possible effect of benzodiazepines on the taste-pain pathways).


Complications of a tongue burn

Burns of the tongue can destroy the taste buds, creating a loss of taste. However, it is a short-term complication because the taste buds regenerate every two weeks.



After eating the pineapple, it is possible to have unpleasant sensations in the mouth, such as burning and tingling. These symptoms occur immediately after eating a fresh pineapple and usually go untreated.

The pineapple contains a group of enzymes called bromelain that break down the proteins of the meat, but also those of the mouth. 
Bromelain removes the molecules from the surface of the cells and digests them. 
Bromelain begins to break down the proteins on the surface of the lips, tongue and cheeks after coming into contact with these areas.

Burning in the mouth

It is possible to reduce the unpleasant effects by eating the pineapple when it is perfectly ripe. 
It is advisable to only buy the pineapple when its aroma is intense and it presents a golden color. 
If the pineapple is still with the green peel, you need to keep it upside down with the leaves on the table for several days until it matures.

Often, there is more than one cause. Despite a careful evaluation, doctors are sometimes unable to find the cause of the symptoms.


Signs and symptoms of  tongue burning

The main symptom of oral burning syndrome is a moderate-severe burning sensation in the mouth that may persist for months or years. 
For many people, the tongue that burns begins in the late morning, peaks in the late afternoon and often decreases at night. 
Some feel a continuous burning; for others, the pain comes and goes.


  • A burning sensation that affects the tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat or mouth;
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the mouth or tip of the tongue;
  • Pain in the mouth that worsens during the day;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Increase from home;
  • Sore mouth;
  • Loss of taste;
  • Changes in taste, such as a bitter or metallic taste .


How can we diagnose tongue burning?

Oral burning syndrome is diagnosed based on clinical symptoms and excludes other problems such as infections , diabetes or vitamin deficiency. If none of these problems is present, a diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome is made.


Treatment for oral burning syndrome

Treatment for burning mouth syndrome is aimed at relieving symptoms. Treatment involves the use of various medications that are traditionally used for depression and chronic pain. 
Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline), antipsychotics such as chlordiazepoxide(Psicosedin), anticonvulsants such as gabapentin (Neurontin), analgesics, benzodiazepines (clonazepam) and mucosal protectors have provided effective relief for some patients.

In addition, topical capsaicin (a natural ingredient present in cayenne pepper) is used to desensitize patients with oral burning syndrome. 
However, despite the success of these approaches, in certain situations there is no treatment for burning mouth syndrome that always works. 
The therapy serves to meet the specific needs of each patient. 
The cost of treatment varies according to the medications prescribed, the duration of treatment and whether there is insurance for medical expenses.


Natural Remedies for Burning in the Tongue

According to some studies, psychotherapy may be an important alternative to conventional treatment for the psychological implications of the disease. 
There are several natural remedies for tongue and lip burn that can provide relief. 
Among them are:

  • Keep a piece of ice in your mouth or drink cold water to reduce the burning sensation and pain;
  • Chewing sugarless gum to increase saliva production and avoid dry mouth syndrome;
  • Go periodically to the dentist to monitor the oral mouth and prostheses that may be present;
  • If the patient is taking medications, check the side effects that cause dry mouth with the doctor;
  • Regularly practicing yoga and meditation can reduce stress and anxiety that can aggravate burning;
  • Replace toothpaste  with sodium bicarbonate if it irritates mouth and tongue;
  • Prepare an infusion with mint leaves. Drink tea twice a day to reduce irritation and burning in the mouth;
  • It is possible to use the infusion as a mouthwash to reduce inflammation and sore throat . Mint has therapeutic properties that may help treat tongue burning, but raw mint leaves should never be chewed because they can cause mouth injury. 
    Margosa leaves  contain an antibacterial compound that can prevent bad breath and other dental problems. It is possible to use a paste made of crushed marigold leaves to brush your teeth.
  • Prepare an onion paste and a little garlic . Add the compound to the water and rinse during the day. This solution helps reduce the burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Applying lavender oil to the mouth can provide rapid relief in case of tongue burning. 
    In the same way, also the glycerin applied in the tongue reduces the sensation of burning and pain.
  • Avoid cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and spicy and oily foods.
  • Alternative treatment methods, such as homeopathy or acupuncture, help control pain and burning.


Diet for burning tongue

The best strategy for treating oral burning syndrome is to make long-term changes in lifestyle, such as:

  • Drink more water to prevent dehydration , dryness in the mouth and to increase the production of saliva in order to reduce the intensity of symptoms.
  • Eat more cooked vegetables. Cooked foods help reduce inflammation and irritation.
  • Foods such as sauces and spicy peppers containing capsaicin should be avoided.
  • Avoid very sour foods, such as citrus fruits. However, one should not reduce the intake of fresh fruits because they improve dental health.
  • Foods that cool the mouth, such as fresh fruits and vegetable juices, are helpful in relieving symptoms.
  • Since thyroid problems and diseases like diabetes can cause the tongue burning syndrome, it is important to follow the treatment for the disease.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin B12 and iron. Foods rich in iron, such as green leafy vegetables, spinach and broccoli, are essential to prevent oral burning syndrome.
  • Avoid alcohol , caffeine, chocolate and cinnamon because they can irritate the tongue, aggravating the symptoms.

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