Harvard Women's Health Watch

Burning mouth syndrome

If you've ever scalded your tongue, you've gotten a small taste of what it's like to have this painful and frustrating disorder.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is an aptly named but poorly understood pain disorder that disproportionately affects women of all races and backgrounds, mostly at midlife. It's considered a benign condition — in other words, it doesn't endanger health. But that may be scant comfort for a woman who constantly feels as though her mouth has been burned by hot coffee or tea.

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