Researchers are finally taking steps towards providing better diagnosis and treatment for the oral chronic pain disorder known as the Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS).
BMS mainly affects women who are middle-aged and older. Research from Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, provides an insight regarding additional steps that are being taken towards improved analysis and action taken regarding the chronic pain disorder.
Hope for effective diagnostic treatment
Burning Mouth Syndrome is a chronic pain disorder in the oral cavity that affects approximately 4% of the Swedish population.
Shikha Acharya, who has a PhD in oral microbiology and immunology at the Institute of Odontology, Sweden says: “our hope is that the new findings will contribute to the development of objective diagnostic criteria and effective individualized treatment both that are currently lacking”.
This chronic syndrome mainly affects middle-aged and elderly women, with the symptoms typically being many individuals often experiencing a burning or stinging sensation in the mouth. The tongue is usually afflicted, but the palate, lips and gums may also have the chance of being affected. Other common symptoms include dry mouth and altered taste sensation, such as a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth.
What did the study uncover?
BMS has proven to be a challenge for health care providers, particularly in dental care, and a debilitating condition for many of the patients.
However according to the study, it turns out that 45% of BMS patients reported to have altered taste sensations and 73% experienced pain that was burning or stinging or a combination of the two, however stinging and numbness also occurred.
Moreover, BMS patients have a higher incidence of other types of diseases, use more medications, are more prone to grinding their teeth and report more allergies than the control group. Also, more advanced analyses show that BMS was strongly associated to self-reported skin diseases and subjective oral dryness.
From the study, patients have essentially reported that they are suffering considerably from skin diseases and skin problems. Moreover, the mucin proteins in BMS patients’ saliva are altered and contain lower amounts of carbohydrate structures that affect the oral cavity’s immune system.
From further analysis of inflammatory constituents in saliva shows complex relationship between BMS and background inflammation, with some of the BMS patients having higher levels of inflammation than the control group while others had lower.
What does the future hold?
The current research is part of a larger project aimed at finding a model for BMS that can facilitate diagnosis and treatment in the future. The new-found research shall be used to characterize the disease and the persistent mouth pain associated with it.