Acupuncture in the Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

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Acupuncture in the Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

Acupuncture in the Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

The main symptom of BMS is burning pain in the mouth connected with scalding feeling or tingling. But numbness, dry mouth, taste alterations and restlessness are symptoms occurring with BMS too. BMS is more common in woman than in men and usually starts from the age of 50. Identifying a single cause for the occurrence of BMS is not possible, since there are several aspects that play a role in the chances to develop it. Menopause can be a causing factor and often hormonal changes are involved. Other conditions associated with the beginning of BMS are diabetes, deficiencies in iron, anemia, cobalamin, folate, thiamin, zinc, riboflavin, pyridoxine, vitamin B 12, niacin and iron. Patients also report BMS symptoms appeared shortly after a dental treatment, recent illness, or the use of medication.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Its View on BMS

Unlike the approach traditionally followed in the west, which means finding the possible cause and prescribing several medications (like hormonal replacement, vitamin and mineral replacement, anti-fungal therapy, creams, antidepressants etc.), Traditional Chinese Medicine uses another way of looking at something like BMS. The burning sensation and the location are the most important things to look at, because a burning sensation in the body is an indicator for the imbalance of yin and yang. Yang is understood as the warming energy and when yin becomes weak and cannot control yang any longer, symptoms of warmth or heat occur. For instance, symptoms like insomnia, high blood pressure, sweating, hot flashes, headache, irritability etc. are often symptoms normal for woman in menopause, because there is less yin (female energy) and more yang. If the symptoms are moderate, internal heat is probably due to yin deficiency; however, when the symptoms are strong, a hyperactivity of yang is likely.

Treating BMS with Acupuncture

The ancient books on acupuncture state that the heart is strongly connected with the tongue and the spleen with the mouth. This means that both organs the heart and the spleen are part of the burning mouth syndrome. Furthermore, heart and spleen play significant roles in depression, and that is why there is a connection between BMS and depression, anxiety, and stress. Acupuncture places its focus on balancing yin and yang, and on stimulating heart and spleen.

The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of BMS was found valid when patients in Brazil received 11 weekly treatments with acupuncture. The results of the case study show that the intensity of pain and burning was reduced significantly after acupuncture was given for the first time, and that symptoms further decreased after each subsequent treatment, almost leading to the freedom of pain in most patients following the 11th treatment. Thus, acupuncture clearly improved the status of BMS patients and their life quality.