5 Underlying Causes of Burning Tongue

By Emily E. | Updated: Jun 18, 2020


A dry, sore mouth is hardly anyone's wish, and for some, burning tongue syndrome is an unfortunate reality that can come on without warning. There are; however, several things that regularly bring about this problem, and understanding what they are can help you find faster relief. Read on to discover five underlying burning tongue causes to soothe away symptoms.

Teeth-grinding is often an involuntary action that only occurs during sleep.

Hormonal Imbalance

Burning tongue causes are numerous, but as with all menopausal symptoms, the leading reason it is hormonal imbalance. During this stage of life, women experience drastic decreases in estrogen, a hormone that not only deals with reproductive functions but also helps produce saliva as well as regulate the bitter-sensing taste buds at the back of the tongue. When these oral areas stop working properly, a burning sensation often results.


Nutritional Deficiency

Getting the proper nutrients is vital to overall health -- oral well-being included - and a deficiency of vitamins and minerals is one of the most prominent causes of burning tongue. In particular, people who suffer from burning tongue tend to lack sufficient amounts of vitamins B3 (niacin), B12 (cobalamin), B9 (folic acid), and iron, all of which can be easily found in dark leafy greens like spinach and broccoli.


Teeth Grinding

Certain unhealthy oral habits are also causes of burning tongue that can go unnoticed, since some people do them without even knowing it. Teeth-grinding, for example, is many times an involuntary action that only occurs during sleep. Also known as bruxism, this habit can be regulated once detected, and a dentist can help to stop the problem altogether.



Many burning tongue causes are a direct result of lifestyle choices, but others are linked to circumstances. Especially for women going through menopause, the risk of developing diabetes becomes higher with age. In addition, the disease has been linked in some research to a tendency toward oral infection. It also affects the blood vessel system, lowering pain thresholds throughout the body and potentially resulting burning tongue sensation.



Oral diabetic medication as well as some blood pressure treatments come with potential side effects that include burning tongue, so those taking such prescriptions may experience this. Diuretics are also known to result in this prickling feeling. Relief can come from switching brands, but you should not stop or change medications and dosages without first consulting your doctor.

Once all possible burning tongue causes have been identified, finding effective treatments becomes easier. For many, small lifestyle alterations such as improved diet and exercise will be enough. So women may prefer to ease symptoms through natural supplements or even look into synthetic hormonal replacement options. Talk to your doctor today to find solutions for burning tongue symptoms.

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