Every year more than 2.5 million older Americans may be victims of elder abuse, and in some cases dentists serve as the first line of defense.
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More than 1 million adults in the United States, mostly women in their postmenopausal years, are affected by a poorly understood and difficult-to-diagnose condition known as burning mouth syndrome (BMS).
The chronic disorder is characterized by pain and a burning sensation in the lips, palate and tongue. It is sometimes accompanied by dry mouth, thirst, altered taste perception, changes in eating habits, irritability, depression and reduced desire to socialize and interact with others.
"People who have this condition are often very frustrated and in pain," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Trey Petty, DDS, FAGD.
Reviewed: January 2012
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