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An intense burning sensation of the oral mucous membranes, especially of the tongue, is typically accompanied by dryness of the mouth and may include various disturbances in taste.


Burning Mouth Syndrome is a painful syndrome of unknown cause where no underlying dental or medical cause can be specifically identified, and no visible oral abnormalities are found. There are two major types of BMS.


  • Considered a diagnosis of exclusion of other entities.

  • Characterized by burning sensations of the oral and perioral tissues.

  • Absence of relevant clinical or psychological abnormalities.

  • A neuropathological cause is likely.


  • Characterized by clinical abnormalities such as mechanical and chemical irritants.

  • Allergic contact-environmental, foods, and oral products.

  • Possible parafunctional habits such as bruxism, clenching and tongue placement causing a frictional reaction.

  • Fungal, bacterial or viral infections such as Candida and Helicobacter pylori infection on the tongue surface.

  • Systemic problems such as mucosal disease states, e.g., lichen planus and stomatitis.

  • Candida infection.

  • Psychological conditions.

  • Hormonal imbalance.

  • Vitamin B deficiency, folate, iron or zinc deficiency.

Type 3

  • Intermittent where people go days or months without oral burning only to have the burning return.

BMS Q&A for Newcomers

Patient Stories





An easy to understand infographic from Main Beach Dental. 

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