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Mouth Diseases

Burning mouth syndrome

11/05/2008

Question:

Is Burning Mouth Syndrome contagious?

Answer:

Probably not.

Burning mouth syndrome is characterized by a generalized burning sensation involving the lips, tongue palate, and mucosal tissues of the mouth. Besides the burning sensations, altered taste and oral dryness may also occur. The etiology of this syndrome is unknown but may be related to nutritional or hormonal deficiencies or chemical or physical irritation. You are concerned about the contagious potential of burning mouth and transmission of the symptoms.

Some clinicians believe that an associative relationship exists between BMS and dry mouth and Candida yeast infection. Thus, some clinicians treat BMS with oral antifungal agents to treat the possibility of an overriding yeast infection. Most oral yeasts are commensuals (exist in the oral cavity without producing an infection) and would not be considered contagious unless the "conditions were optimal for infectivity".

The current treatments for BMS involve the use of topical anesthetics or anti-depressants (Tricyclic antidepressants, TCAs like amitryptaline, or Clonapine or Neurontin). Also nutritional deficiency (B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid and iron) may be the cause of BMS in which supplementation may be indicated.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University