Primary Causes of Burning Tongue: Natural Remedies and Treatment

Burning tongue syndrome is a chronic painful condition characterized by burning pain in tongue, gums, lips, inside of cheeks. Sometimes there is burning pain in whole mouth due to which patient becomes very restless and uncomfortable. It may last from few days to few years. This is also commonly referred as burning mouth syndrome.

Causes of Burning Tongue

Often the underlying cause of burning tongue cannot be determined. This is called idiopathic or primary tongue burning syndrome. This may occur due to some problem in sensory nerves of peripheral or central nervous system.

When some underlying medical condition is responsible for burning tongue then it is called secondary burning tongue syndrome.

Underlying medical conditions that may lead to burning tongue are: –

  • Nutritional deficiencies like deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2(riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 /(folate),vitamin B12 (cobalamin) may cause burning tongue. Lack of minerals like lack of zinc, iron can cause burning tongue.
  • Diabetes is one of the causes of burning tongue.
  • Ill-fitting dentures may put stress on the tissues of the mouth and may cause irritation of the tissues due to constant friction. One may be even allergic to the material used for denture.
  • Certain medicines may cause dryness of mouth and lead to burning tongue.
  • Allergies to food or food components such as food colors,food additives may result in burning tongue.
  • Damage to nerves that control taste and pain in tongue.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Factors such as over brushing of tongue, overuse of mouthwash may lead to irritation of tongue. Even acidic drinks may cause burning of tongue.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, when gastric acid enters your mouth, may cause burning tongue.
  • Oral yeast infection.
  • Bad oral habits such as teeth grinding, tongue biting may lead to burning tongue.
  • Depression, anxiety and stress are contributing factors for burning tongue.

Symptoms of Burning Tongue Syndrome

  • Burning pain in tongue,lips, inside of cheeks or inside whole mouth.
  • There may be numbness or tingling sensation in mouth.
  • Soreness in mouth.
  • Inability to eat or drink comfortably.
  • Thirst is increased.
  • Bitter or metallic taste in mouth.
  • Loss of taste.
  • Pain may be intermittent or worsens as day progresses.
  • Patient may remain depressed or irritable due to constant pain.
  • Sleeplessness due to pain.


Diagnosis is done with detail medical history. Blood test is done to rule out diabetes, thyroid disorder and nutritional deficiencies. Oral culture may be done to look for various oral infections.  Allergy test is carried out to look for any allergy.


  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and to reduce dryness.
  • If necessary take vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Keep ice cube in mouth to relieve pain and burning sensation.
  • Avoid spicy food.
  • Take bland food with lots of vegetables and fruits.
  • Use mild toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Avoid acidic food and drinks.
  • Have milk with honey which helps in improving blood circulation in mouth and heals the tissue rapidly.
  • Treat the underlying cause after consulting your physician.

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