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Why does my tongue burn when I smoke?

To answer this question, it is important to distinguish whether burning on the tongue is caused by a serious disease (Burning-mouth Syndrome, BMS) or just an occasional reaction of the body to unknown substances such as nicotine.

What is tongue burning?

Tongue burning (Glossodyny, Burning-mouth Syndrome, BMS) is a condition that causes a feeling of burning in the mouth. People with these symptoms compare the sensations in the mouth to the consumption of a hot drink. Current scientific evidence points to several possible causes. Why exactly this unpleasant disease occurs is still unclear.

In case of tongue burning, you should seek medical advice to find out the exact cause. Smoking may be responsible for this. We have put together an overview of possible causes for you and give advice on what you can do about a burning tongue.

Which parts of the mouth can be affected?

Tongue burning can affect the following parts of the mouth:

  • tongue
  • the palate
  • the inside of the cheeks
  • the gums
  • the lips

Can cigarette cause burning in the mouth?

There are patients with the symptoms of a burning tongue who “just” didn’t pay attention and drank too hot coffee. The feeling of a burning tongue is then not due to the BMS disease.

In addition, various other chemicals can irritate the sensitive nerves: An example of this is the consumption of a pineapple or the smoking of cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products. Basically, you don’t have to worry much about that. The body reacts with natural defensive reactions to unknown substances and sends you signals that “something is wrong”.

This reaction can last up to several hours. As a rule, no treatment is necessary and the pain disappears very quickly.

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Causes of BMS

Real BMS can be primary, i.e. it results from an immediate cause, or secondary, which means that the cause is indirect. According to the Information Centre for Genetic and Rare Diseases, the primary form of BMS results from damage to the nerves that control taste and pain sensations.

smoking depression

Secondary BMS may occur due to other medical conditions or treatments, including:

  • allergies to certain foods or dental products
  • anxiety or depression
  • diabetes
  • dry mouth
  • medicines, such as high blood pressure medications
  • oral infections
  • nutritional deficiencies

If the burning on your tongue doesn't cease after a few hours, you should definitely contact your family doctor.

Which household remedies can help to reduce the burning sensation after a cigarette?

We recommend the use of household remedies such as drinking plenty of water or relieving pain with ice cubes.

To alleviate the symptoms, we recommend drinking water and cooling sensitive areas with for example ice cubes.

This also reduces the feeling of dry mouth and can temporarily mask bad tastes.

drink water

Avoiding the consumption of problematic food and beverages

In addition, intensive foods and beverages can irritate the mouth. Restriction or avoidance of the following foods may result in improvement:

  • acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits
  • acidic beverages, including citrus juices, soda and coffee
  • alcohol and alcoholic products
  • spicy foods
  • products containing cinnamon or mint, including herbal teas, sweets and pastries

Change your dental hygiene products and habits

Oral health products, including toothpaste and mouthwash, can irritate the skin of the mouth and also be a reason for burning your tongue.

It is advisable to use a tasteless toothpaste that is suitable for sensitive teeth and limit the use of mouthwash.

Stopping unconscious habits, such as biting the tip of the tongue, can often also cause an unpleasant burning sensation.

Quit smoking

Whether your tongue hurts from BMS or just from overloading your nerves, quitting smoking is a good idea. 

If we tell you that you can

  • immediately
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quit smoking, would you be interested to learn more? If there was such a magic method, would you be willing to try it? Of course we don’t believe in magic. However, there is a method that works miracles. Get our guide now and see for yourself. It costs you nothing.

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