The inside of the mouth is lined with a thin epithelium known as the the oral mucosa. It is highly sensitive to temperature, chemicals and even physical stimulants, coupled with the tongue which is one of the most sensitive parts of the body. This is partly due to the network of nerves supplying the mouth and tongue as well as the thin mucosa which does not act as much of a physical barrier as the skin. Therefore any injury, whether chemical or mechanical, can cause pain within the mouth. Sometimes this mouth pain is experienced as a burning sensation yet not pain or it may be a burning pain. This often signifies injury to the oral mucosa with ongoing irritation or damage of the tissue. However, in some cases there is no obvious cause of this burning mouth sensation and even diagnostic investigations cannot reveal a definitive reason for this sensation.
What is burning mouth syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a condition of the mouth marked by an intense and continuous burning sensation of the tongue, inside of the mouth (oral mucosa) and lips. The pain is primarily centered on the tongue and extends outwards to the oral mucosa and lips. It may also involve the gums and palate (roof of the mouth). There is no definitive known cause of burning mouth syndrome in most cases. Many patients with burning mouth syndrome reports some disturbances with the sense of taste (dysgeusia ~ unusual taste; parageusia ~ diminished taste) and there may also be dryness of the mouth.