Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a burning, tingling or scalding sensation in the mouth, lasting for at least four to six months, with no underlying known dental or medical cause. No related signs of disease are found in the mouth. People with burning mouth syndrome may also have a subjective xerostomia (dry mouth sensation where no cause can be found such as reduced salivary flow), paraesthesia (altered sensation such as tingling in the mouth), or an altered sense of taste or smell.
A burning sensation in the mouth can be a symptom of another disease when local or systemic factors are found to be implicated; this is not considered to be burning mouth syndrome, which is a syndrome of medically unexplained symptoms. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines burning mouth syndrome as "a distinctive nosological entity characterized by unremitting oral burning or similar pain in the absence of detectable mucosal changes" and "burning pain in the tongue or other oral mucous membranes", and the International Headache Society defines it as "an intra-oral burning sensation for which no medical or dental cause can be found". To ensure the correct diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome, Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC/BMS) have been developed.
Insufficient evidence leaves it unclear if effective treatments exist.