The Case of The Painful Burp and the Not-Painful Swallow

Pains in the mouth are not uncommon. What is somewhat more uncommon is a not-painful swallow with a painful burp. The case study, “The Wrong Toothpaste and The Painful Burp,” dives into this mystery for a 31-year old man.

To his surprise, there was only slight exacerbation upon swallowing, whereas burping triggered very severe pain with radiation to the ears, lasting approximately 5 seconds.

Researchers used techniques that involved examining an ulcer on his uvula and taking a video of the patient burping (with audio).

The uvula with the incorrect toothpaste use is on the left. The same uvula with correct toothpaste use is on the right.

Finally, the patient realized that he had accidentally been using a toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate for a few weeks prior to symptom onset. He has not experienced any recurrences upon switching back to his regular toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate.

The full citation: Pareek, M. and Bhatt, D. (2017). The Wrong Toothpaste and the Painful Burp. The American Journal of Medicine, 130(1), pp.e19-e20.