Burning Mouth Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a collection of symptoms characterized by pain of the tongue, lips, or palate. It also may involve a general feeling of discomfort of the whole mouth. The burning or pain can occur every day over a long period of time. Some people feel the pain every day. Other sensations that have been described with BMS include

  • tingling,
  • scalding,
  • numbness,
  • dry mouth, or
  • an altered sense of taste in the mouth.

Some people report that the pain is improved when eating or drinking.

Causes of burning mouth syndrome

The cause of burning mouth syndrome is not understood. Primary BMS is diagnosed only when other causes of mouth pain are ruled out. Secondary BMS occurs when another underlying condition causes the symptoms. Some possible conditions that can cause BMS symptoms include diabetes, certain medications (for example, blood pressure medication), infections, nutritional deficiencies including low vitamin B levels or low iron levels, radiation therapy, hormonal changes, acid reflux, or conditions that cause dry mouth.

Other burning mouth syndrome symptoms and signs


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.