Burning tongue is generally considered an unpredictable phenomenon, but certain lifestyle choices can be indicators of its likelihood. Fortunately, changing certain habits can help treat and prevent this problem. Read on to discover five habits that may lead to the sensation of a burning tongue.
In addition to causing a variety of other health concerns, tobacco use is linked to burning tongue, as it is known to irritate and damage taste buds and other parts of the mouth. When the "bitter" taste buds toward the back of the tongue are irritated, a sore sensation can occur and last for weeks, months, or even years. Relief from this symptom is merely one of the many benefits of quitting tobacco products.
Ingesting Too Much Acid
Fruits, vegetables, and proper hydration are essential to health, but some of these fresh foods can actually worsen burning tongue. Citrus juices and tomato in particular are highly acidic, so they can exacerbate acid reflux and damage oral health. For the same reason, coffee consumption can also make burning tongue worse. Bananas, avocados, leafy greens, and water are great, soothing substitutes for acidic food and drink.
Eating Spicy Foods
A burning tongue sensation may be temporary and only last a few minutes, but during some stages of life, it can become longer-lasting. Spicy foods may often result in a momentary burn, but for women going through menopause, meals that feature spicy flavors can significantly worsen symptoms. Herbs like basil, parsley, and rosemary can add flavor without risk of mouth discomfort.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Just as poor nutrition is harmful to overall health, poor oral hygiene can perpetuate tongue and mouth problems. Brushing and flossing twice a day eliminates bacteria that can cause infections and lessens the symptoms of burning tongue. A regular routine is especially essential among older people, who are more susceptible to burning tongue sensation as well as gum problems.
For women going through menopause, the leading cause of burning tongue is hormonal imbalance. One of the most effective ways to balance hormones is to improve lifestyle and habits. As poor diet and prolonged inactivity are underlying causes of burning tongue, women should eat healthfully and get regular exercise to combat this uncomfortable menopause symptom.
Though sometimes burning tongue is beyond your control, it can also come and go based on lifestyle and habits. Following the above recommendations will help control discomfort and prevent long-term symptoms.
For more information about burning tongue and how to treat it, explore the links below.
- Dahiya, P. et al. (2013). Burning Mouth Syndrome and Menopause. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4(1), 15-20. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570906/
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (2014). Burning Mouth Syndrome. Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/Burning/BurningMouthSyndrome.htm