OBJECTIVE To apply a tongue protector with habit-modifying therapy through self-control, in the patients with burning mouth syndrome (BMS). METHODS A prospective, randomized study was made of 65 consecutive patients with BMS. Fifty subjects were randomized to two groups: group A (informed) and group B (informed and the application of a tongue protector). The symptoms were evaluated by VAS, whereas the psychological profile was assessed using the HAD, with application of the quality of life questionnaires SF-36 and OHIP-49. The duration of treatment was 2 months. RESULTS Fifty patients (46 females and 4 males) completed the study. The VAS scores in group B were 8.2 at baseline and 4.5 after 2 months. The respective scores in group A were 7.1 and 5.6 - the differences between the two groups being significant (P < 0.001). In group B the OHIP-49 yielded lower scores for most of the scales, with significant differences vs group A. In group B the SF 36 yielded significant differences vs group A in physical role, bodily pain, general health and emotional role. CONCLUSIONS Parafunctional traumatism of the tongue should be taken into account in the pathogenesis of BMS with a view to exploring new therapeutic options.