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Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a painful health problem that causes a burning or tingling feeling in the mouth. It can cause flare ups that happen over time. It can also affect taste and cause dry mouth.

Medicine is used to manage BMS symptoms, but there is no cure. Some people turn to natural therapies to further manage symptoms.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in spicy chilies and peppers (Note: Capsaicin may cause a slight but temporary burning sensation.)B6, B10, B12

May Be Effective

These therapies may help manage symptoms:

  • Aloe vera is a plant that can be applied as a gel B2
  • Alpha lipoic acid is made by the body and can be taken as a supplement to relieve burning sensations and pain B4, B7, B9, B10, B12-B16
  • Catuama is a mix of herbs taken by mouth that has been used to relieve pain and burning sensations B1, B10
  • Chamomile is a flower that can be applied as a gel B5
  • Olive oil can be applied to ease burning B3

Acupuncture may relieve burning and improve quality of life.A1-A3

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Melatonin B8
  • St. John's wort B17

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse. For example, capsaicin may cause a slight but temporary burning sensation.

 

References

Acupuncture

A1. Franco FR, Castro LA, et al. Combined Acupuncture and Auriculotherapy in Burning Mouth Syndrome Treatment: A Preliminary Single-Arm Clinical Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2017;23(2):126-134.

A2. Jurisic Kvesic A, Zavoreo I, et al. The effectiveness of acupuncture versus clonazepam in patients with burning mouth syndrome. Acupunct Med. 2015 Aug;33(4):289-292.

A3. Yan Z, Ding N, et al. A systematic review of acupuncture or acupoint injection for management of burning mouth syndrome. Quintessence Int. 2012 Sep;43(8):695-701.

Herbs and Supplements

B1. Spanemberg JC, Cherubini K, et al. Effect of an herbal compound for treatment of burning mouth syndrome: randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2012;113(3):373-377.

B2. López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, et al. Prospective, randomized, double-blind, clinical evaluation of Aloe vera Barbadensis, applied in combination with a tongue protector to treat burning mouth syndrome. J Oral Pathol Med. 2013;42(4):295-301.

B3. Cano-Carrillo P, Pons-Fuster A, et al. Efficacy of lycopene-enriched virgin olive oil for treating burning mouth syndrome: a double-blind randomised. J Oral Rehabil. 2014;41(4):296-305.

B4. Palacios-Sánchez B, Moreno-López LA, et al. Alpha lipoic acid efficacy in burning mouth syndrome. A controlled clinical trial. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2015;20(4):e435-440.

B5. Valenzuela S, Pons-Fuster A, et al. Effect of a 2% topical chamomile application for treating burning mouth syndrome: a controlled clinical trial. J Oral Pathol Med. 2016;35(7):528-533.

B6. Häggman-Henrikson B, Alstergren P, et al. Pharmacological treatment of oro-facial pain – health technology assessment including systematic review with network meta-analysis. J Oral Rehabil. 2017;44(10):800-826.

B7. de Souza IF, Mármora BC, et al. Treatment modalities for burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review. Clin Oral Investig. 2018 Jun;22(5):1893-1905.

B8. Varoni EM, Lo Faro AF, et al. Melatonin Treatment in Patients with Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Triple-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Randomized Clinical Trial. J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2018 Spring;32(2):178-188.

B9. Barbosa NG, Gonzaga AKG, et al. Evaluation of laser therapy and alpha-lipoic acid for the treatment of burning mouth syndrome: a randomized clinical trial. Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Aug;33(6):1255-1262.

B10. Liu YF, Kim Y, et al. Burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review of treatments. Oral Dis. 2018 Apr;24(3):325-334.

B11. McMillan R, Forssell H, et al. Interventions for treating burning mouth syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 18;11:CD002779.

B12. Kisely S, Forbes M, et al. A systematic review of randomized trials for the treatment of burning mouth syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 2016 Jul;86:39-46.

B13. López-D'alessandro E, Escovich L. Combination of alpha lipoic acid and gabapentin, its efficacy in the treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2011 Aug 1;16(5):e635-40.

B14. Cavalcanti DR, da Silveira FR. Alpha lipoic acid in burning mouth syndrome--a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Oral Pathol Med. 2009 Mar;38(3):254-261.

B15. López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, et al. Efficacy of alpha lipoic acid in burning mouth syndrome: a randomized, placebo-treatment study. J Oral Rehabil. 2009 Jan;36(1):52-57.

B16. Carbone M, Pentenero M, et al. Lack of efficacy of alpha-lipoic acid in burning mouth syndrome: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Pain. 2009 May;13(5):492-496.

B17. Sardella A, Lodi G, et al. Hypericum perforatum extract in burning mouth syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled study. J Oral Pathol Med. 2008 Aug;37(7):395-401.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/26/2020