Glossalgia: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Glossalgia is sometimes referred to as 'burning mouth syndrome' - a name which gives us a heavy hint as to the main characteristic; a burning or stinging sensation in the mouth. This is particularly prevalent on the tongue often and sometimes comes with xerostomia and dysgeusia. This is of course a very unpleasant condition and a frustrating one for anyone experiencing it and some understanding as to its nature can help us better understand and so control it. Here we will look at the symptoms, causes and available treatments for burning mouth. Glossalgia is normally considered a 'psychosomatic' condition suggesting that it is caused by the patients' psychology. It's 'all in the mind' as it were with no physical cause currently known. This does not mean that it is not a legitimate complaint, and many serious conditions are linked to our thoughts such as panic attacks and depression. In some cases even more physical problems such as IBS can be linked to our psychology. Of course there is still some kind of 'cause' that triggers glossalgia in certain individuals. These could be chronic anxiety or depression, menopause etc. The connection between the mind and the production of saliva can be demonstrated in many 'every day' situations such as the way in which we often feel we have a dry mouth as a result of nerves before giving a speech or when speaking to someone we are trying to impress. There are also many physical causes of glossalgia however meaning it's not always a purely psychological phenomenon. In some cases it can be a result of a reaction to the foaming agent found in many toothpastes called 'sodium lauryl sulphate'. Likewise it can be linked to type 2 diabetes, and sometimes damaged nerves (in the brain which are related to taste). In other cases it can be caused by spicy foods, badly fitted dentures, medications, vitamin B12 deficiency or fungal infections. Glossalgia usually responds well to treatment if the cause of inflammation is removed or treated. This disorder may be painless, or it may cause tongue and mouth discomfort. In some cases, glossalgia may result in severe tongue swelling that blocks the airway. Symptoms: glossalgia Symptoms of glossalgia may appear quickly or slowly over time. They include: Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
  • Smooth surface of the tongue.
  • Sore and tender tongue.
  • Tongue color changes.Pale, if caused by pernicious anemia. Fiery red, if caused by a lack of other B vitamins.
  • Tongue swelling.
Diagnosis: Your dentist will ask you about your pain: Where it is?
  • How long you have had it?
  • How bad the pain or burning is?
  • Whether you take any medicines?
The dentist also will examine your mouth for anything that might be irritating it. Examples may include: Rough or broken teeth.
  • Broken crowns, appliances or dentures.
  • Yeast infections (thrush).
Your dentist also will look in your mouth for any ulcers or redness. Severe dry mouth can cause pain. Therefore, the dentist will examine your salivary glands to see if they produce enough good-quality saliva. Your dentist may order tests to look for changes in the blood count, glucose (sugar) and vitamins. Tests for fungi and bacteria can also be done. Treatment: The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation. Most people do not need to go to the hospital for treatment unless tongue swelling is severe. Good oral hygiene is important. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Antibiotics, antifungal medications, or other antimicrobials may be prescribed if the glossalgia is due to an infection.
  • Dietary changes and supplements are used to treat anemia and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Avoid irritants (such as hot or spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco) to reduce any tongue discomfort.
Other Treatment Options Include: Removal of irritants (rough edges on fillings, crowns or dentures).
  • Construction of a soft plastic tray to correct or cover irregular areas of the teeth.
  • Pain relievers applied to the area.
  • Microsurgery to repair the lingual nerve, if nerve damage is a cause.
  • Low doses of benzodiazepine, antidepressant or anticonvulsant drugs.
  • Changes in current medicines, which may be causing the pain.
  • Supplements or diet changes for nutritional deficiencies.
  • Antifungal medicines.
NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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