May 21, 2011 in Features

Burning mouth calls for further investigation

Peter H. Gott, M.D., United Media; Www.Askdrgottmd.Com
 

DEAR DR. GOTT: I have recently been diagnosed with burning-mouth syndrome. What can you tell me about the cause and treatment? I’ve found Breneton on the Internet. Is this a good treatment to try?

DEAR READER: Unfortunately, the cause of this condition can’t always be easily determined. It is thought to be related to problems with taste and sensory nerves of the peripheral or central nervous system; or it might be caused by a nutritional deficiency such as vitamin B, folate, iron or zinc. Direct links for the disorder can include an oral yeast infection, anxiety, depression, some medications, an underactive thyroid, reflux, hormonal imbalance or irritation to the mouth. Whatever the cause, the pain can affect your lips, tongue, gums, inside of your cheeks, roof of your mouth or all of the above.

Symptoms include numbness or tingling of the affected portion of your mouth, pain that worsens as the day progresses, a loss of taste and dry mouth. You may notice an unpleasant metallic taste. Whatever symptom or symptoms you have can occur every day or may come and go. This condition can last for years or may disappear without treatment.

Your doctor may choose to order blood tests, cultures to rule out viral/bacterial/yeast infection, allergy testing or even an MRI or CT to rule out other possible but unidentified health issues. If you suffer from dry mouth, a salivary test can confirm or rule out a reduction in salivary flow.

Treatment will depend on your specific symptoms. Mouthwashes, specific antidepressants, B vitamins, capsaicin as a pain reliever or behavioral therapy might be considered. On the home front, experiment with different toothpastes, drink additional fluids, refrain from using tobacco, and avoid foods with cinnamon or mint, as well as those high in acid, such as tomatoes and orange juice. Above all, make an effort to reduce the stress in your life, if appropriate. This might be accomplished with yoga or tai chi.

Breneton is a combination of rheum rhabarbarum, Indian olibanum tree, torchwood tree, ginger, operculina turpethum and scammony. My guess is as good as yours whether this will work or not. My guess? No.

DEAR DR. GOTT: Can you tell me something about a product called ASEA? It is supposed to be a cure-all for pain when you take two ounces twice a day. Is this a fad or does it work? The cost is about $1 per ounce.

DEAR READER: ASEA is not promoted as a juice, antioxidant or vitamin but as redox-signaling molecules in a bottle. Redox-signaling molecules are what your body creates in order to support the vital functions of the immune system. Pardon me, but what in the heck does that really mean?

The ingredients are sodium and chloride (salt and water)! The product is sold in 32-ounce bottles and promoted as an immune booster. The recommendation is that a person drinks between four and eight ounces about 20 minutes before exercising on an empty stomach. There is no need for a daily dose to keep your redox level high. You can’t overdose on it, and only need to use it when you know you will exercise strenuously. I’m not sure about the pain-relief connection.

As long as you asked, I think this is a fad. Stick with a healthful diet, drink adequate fluids to remain hydrated, exercise in an appropriate manner, and save your money.

Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician.


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