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Imagine waking up each day…

with a relentless burning sensation in your mouth, a pain that doesn’t seem to have a clear cause or cure.

This is the reality for those suffering from Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS), a chronic and debilitating condition that can dramatically diminish one’s quality of life. Traditional Western medicine often tackles BMS with a combination of medication and lifestyle adjustments. 

At our clinic, we have never heard of Burning Mouth Syndrome before, however we did learn from the patients that by using TCM acupuncture, BMS can be treated with promising outcomes.

In this article, we elaborate on this one successful case, and also share the research that we found. We have also found two other clinics in the world who treat this condition:

  1. Beachside Acupuncture
  2. Dallas Acupuncture Clinic (Dr. Qiong Bai)

Hope you will find what you need from this article!

Case Study: Burning Mouth Syndrome at Chinese Doc Singapore

In 2024, I treated my first case of burning mouth syndrome. The male patient from Singapore had gone to several specialists, and only after much testing did they diagnose him with Burning Mouth Syndrome. 

Thereafter, the patient came to our clinic to “give acupuncture a try.” To our surprise (yes, both him and me!), it was a worthwhile trip! Watch this video below to understand how this patient pointed us to all the research we needed!

Understanding Burning Mouth Syndrome

BMS is a condition where a person experiences a continuous or recurring burning sensation in the mouth, typically involving the tongue, lips, palate, or areas all over the mouth. The sensation can be severe, often described as if the mouth has been exposed to hot liquids or foods. 

BMS is often classified into two types: primary and secondary.

Primary BMS

Primary BMS is idiopathic, meaning that no underlying cause can be identified. It is thought to be related to damage to the nerves that control taste and pain.

Secondary BMS

Secondary BMS is characterized by a known underlying cause that triggers the condition. 

Common causes of secondary BMS include hormonal changes during menopause or thyroid disorders. Certain medications, such as ACE inhibitors, antiretrovirals, or antidepressants, can also contribute to the condition. Dental issues, such as poorly fitting dentures or oral thrush, can also be a factor. Furthermore, psychological factors like stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms.

Additionally, allergies to dental materials, food additives, or mouth care products can also contribute to secondary BMS. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in essential vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin B12, or folate, can also play a role.

Risk Factors

BMS is influenced by several risk factors. These include:

  • Age: This condition typically affects individuals over 50 years old
  • Gender: Women, especially those undergoing menopause are more susceptible.
  • Smoking: Smokers are more likely to suffer from BMS
  • Certain medical conditions: Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disorders, tend to exacerbate the underlying neuropathy.

TCM Acupuncture To Treat Burning Mouth Syndrome

acupuncture for burning mouth syndrome

As explained in the video above, Dr Mark first readed through the research to better  understand the patient’s condition. Next, he proceeded to place needles in acupuncture points recommended by the research. 

This is how he understand the acupuncture points and how they work together to treat BMS:

  • Stomach Points: Points from ST3 all the way to ST7 are used to cover the path of the lower two branches of the trigeminal nerve. Additionally ST44 and ST45 are used to ‘clear the fire in the mouth.’.
  • Ear Points: Points such as Shen Men and Mouth and Sympathetic are commonly used as an acknowledgement that the nervous system is somehow affected.
  • Master Points in the Legs: Points such as ST36, KI3, KI6, KI7 and LV3 are used to address possible imbalances in the body.

Another Case Study: Benefits of Acupuncture for BMS

acupuncture for burning mouth syndrome

A case study published in Medical Acupuncture corroborates the progress we made with our male patient. The study reported a 53-year-old woman who experienced significant relief from BMS symptoms after undergoing acupuncture treatment. The patient experienced a significant reduction in pain and discomfort, leading to improved quality of life and overall well-being.

Research and Results

If these anecdotal cases are enough, please read on for more evidence!

Research has consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing BMS. A study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in relieving burning mouth, reducing it by 43%, representing an alternative therapy in the management of symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. 

Another study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery found that acupuncture influenced oral microcirculation, resulting in a significant variation of the vascular pattern and a significant reduction of the burning sensation after three weeks of therapy. This really matches how we are also able to treat shingles on the face that affects the maxillary and mandibular branches of the trigeminal nerve!

Key Studies Investigating Acupuncture for BMS

Several studies have investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in treating BMS. A systematic review of acupuncture or acupoint injections for managing BMS found that acupuncture was effective as a treatment for BMS, with the majority of studies comparing true BMS patients to control groups. 

A pilot study evaluating the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of BMS found that acupuncture was helpful in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for patients with BMS. 

 

Are you persuaded already?

You Have to Try This!

Because it is a low-risk, high reward alternative, acupuncture offers a promising possibility for those managing Burning Mouth Syndrome in Singapore.

Whatsapp us to find out more!

FAQs

1. What Acupressure Points Are Used for Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Acupuncture points used for burning mouth syndrome include local points of the trigeminal innervation (ST3, ST4, ST5, ST6, ST7) and systemic action points (GV 24, LI 4, ST 44, and ST 36). These points are chosen based on traditional Chinese medicine principles and are believed to influence the oral microcirculation and reduce the burning sensation.

2. How Do You Calm a Burning Mouth Syndrome?

To calm a burning mouth syndrome, acupuncture therapy is often used. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. This can help reduce the burning sensation and improve overall quality of life. Additionally, herbal remedies like Eastern Herbal formulas can be used to complement acupuncture treatment and enhance its effectiveness.

3. What Is the Root Cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome?

The root cause of burning mouth syndrome is multifactorial and not fully understood. It is associated with various local, systemic, psychogenic, and neurological factors. These factors can include vitamin deficiencies (iron, zinc, folate, B vitamins) as well as conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome and Parkinson’s disease that predispose you to BMS.

4. Can You Reverse Burning Mouth Syndrome?

While there is no known cure for burning mouth syndrome, acupuncture and other alternative therapies have shown promising results in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Acupuncture can influence oral microcirculation, leading to a significant reduction of the burning sensation and improving overall health. However, the long-term reversibility of the condition remains unclear and requires further research.

5. What Is the New Treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Recent studies have highlighted the effectiveness of vitamin B6 in managing symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. Vitamin B6 supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

6. What Vitamin Should I Take for Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Vitamin B6 is a key nutrient in managing symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. It has been shown to reduce pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Additionally, vitamin B complex and zinc supplements have also been found to be effective in decreasing pain and burning sensation levels in patients with BMS.

7. What Can Be Mistaken for Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning mouth syndrome can be mistaken for other conditions such as:

  • Glossodynia: A condition characterized by pain or discomfort in the tongue.
  • Oral lichen planus: A chronic inflammatory condition that can cause pain, burning, and itching in the mouth.
  • Oral thrush: A fungal infection that can cause white patches and a burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Dry mouth: A condition characterized by a lack of saliva, which can cause a burning sensation in the mouth.

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