Burning Mouth

For many years, I’ve been getting this odd, burning sensation in my mouth.

It started in my early forties. I didn’t know quite how to describe it other than it felt like my mouth was extremely dry and sore; almost like I’d washed my mouth out with bleach. My tongue also seemed to have swollen up a little bit. Was it an ulcer? No. A pimple on the tongue perhaps? No. Was I imagining the whole thing? I didn’t think so; it was really quite bizarre and I knew that it didn’t feel right.

I didn’t go to the doctor about it as I didn’t really know how to explain it without sounding a bit silly. I also supposed that there were worse things in life than having a burning mouth and left it at that. It was only when visiting my gynaecologist that I realised it was something more. She asked me if there was anything else on my mind and I took the opportunity to tell her about the odd sensation in my mouth. I’d barely finished attempting to describe the feeling when she stopped me there and said that I had a classic case of menopause-induced burning mouth syndrome. “I have what?” I said, slightly stunned. “You mean, that’s an actually thing?” My gynaecologist nodded and told me that it was a fairly common symptom affecting a lot of women.

What Causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

As is the case with virtually every symptom, burning mouth or burning tongue is caused by the fluctuating levels of estrogen in our bodies. Estrogen plays an important role in the production of saliva and the reduction in our estrogen levels can make it harder for us to produce saliva and that can leave our mouths much dryer. According to a journal on the causes of burning mouth syndrome, “…the relationship with menopause is proven by the suggestion that the dramatic fall in gonadal steroids that occurs at that time further alters the production of neuroactive steroids.”

My Top Tips

Keep hydrated

I know I keep going on about it but it does work. As a society, none of us drink enough water. Two thirds of our bodies consist of water and for women the recommended intake is 1.6 litres a day or just under three pints. The more hydrated you are, the better your oral lubrication will be. That will help to alleviate the feeling of dryness.

Try a herbal tea

I talk a lot. And I mean A LOT. I also have ADHD and so I tend to speak really fast. That means that I probably end up speaking far more than the majority of people. At the end of the day, I like to make myself a soothing herbal cup of something to refresh my mouth after a long day of talking!

Ditch the fluoride toothpaste

Did you know that there is a poison control warning on every tube of fluoride toothpaste sold in the US? That is a result of the FDA’s findings that fluoride can present health risks during early childhood. But it doesn’t only affect children. Fluoride is more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic and once ingested, even in small amounts, enters the circulation within a matter of minutes. Our bodies are already having to deal with a lot and dumping more problems into our systems is not going to help our oral health.

Suck on some lozenges

I’ll be honest, I’m still looking for a complete solution to my burning mouth syndrome. I would love a rose and lavender lozenge; something quite soft to suck on and refresh my mouth. I haven’t quite found what I’m looking for and so I may have to make my own! In any case, let’s all keep finding our own ways to cope with what the menopause throws at us.

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