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Burning mouth syndrome - Oral Mucosal Lesion
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Burning mouth syndrome - Oral Mucosal Lesion

Contributors: Vivian Wong MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Burning mouth syndrome (oral dysesthesia, sore tongue, stomatodynia, and/or stomatopyrosis) is a chronic disorder characterized by burning and painful sensation in the oral cavity for at least 3 months. While the tongue is most commonly affected, the rest of the oral cavity may be affected as well. Primary burning mouth syndrome is idiopathic and is not associated with any underlying etiology. Secondary burning mouth syndrome is likely multifactorial, with numerous physiologic and/or psychosomatic factors at play. Reported systemic associations include nutritional, endocrine, allergic, autoimmune, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, psychiatric, and neurologic diseases. Several medications, especially angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, have been implicated as well.

Burning mouth syndrome typically affects adults, with a strong predilection for women aged 40-60 years. The prevalence is estimated at 0.7%-15% of the population. Perimenopausal women are at a higher risk, especially 3 years prior to menopause and 12 years following menopause.


K14.6 – Glossodynia

399165002 – Burning mouth syndrome

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Herpetic stomatitis
  • Aphthous stomatitis
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Atypical odontalgia
  • Idiopathic facial arthromyalgia
  • Medication side effect
  • Connective tissue diseases, eg, Sjögren syndrome
  • Pemphigus vulgaris
  • Drug-induced pemphigus 
  • Paraneoplastic pemphigus
  • Mucous membrane pemphigoid
  • Bullous pemphigoid
  • Erosive Oral lichen planus
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma or other neoplastic lesions in the oral cavity
  • Human immunodeficiency virus primary infection
  • Chemical burn
  • Vestibular schwannoma
  • Lingual or mandibular nerves injury
  • Migratory glossitis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Oral candidiasis

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:11/02/2017
Last Updated:07/25/2021
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Burning mouth syndrome - Oral Mucosal Lesion
A medical illustration showing key findings of Burning mouth syndrome : Dysgeusia, Xerostomia
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.