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J Formos Med Assoc. 2013 Jun;112(6):319-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2012.02.022. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Significant association of hematinic deficiencies and high blood homocysteine levels with burning mouth syndrome.

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Graduate Institute of Clinical Dentistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is characterized by a burning sensation of the oral mucosa in the absence of clinically apparent mucosal alterations. In this study, we evaluated whether there was an intimate association of the deficiency of hemoglobin (Hb), iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid; high blood homocysteine level; and serum gastric parietal cell antibody (GPCA) positivity with BMS.


Blood Hb, iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, and homocysteine concentrations and the serum GPCA level were measured in 399 BMS patients and compared with the corresponding levels in 399 age- and sex-matched healthy control individuals.


We found that 89 (22.3%), 81 (20.3%), 10 (2.5%), and six (1.5%) BMS patients had deficiencies of Hb (men: <13 g/dL, women: <12 g/dL), iron (<60 μg/dL), vitamin B12 (<200 pg/mL), and folic acid (<4 ng/mL), respectively. Moreover, 89 (22.3%) BMS patients had abnormally high blood homocysteine level and 53 (13.3%) had serum GPCA positivity. BMS patients had a significantly higher frequency of Hb, iron, or vitamin B12 deficiency; of abnormally elevated blood homocysteine level; or of serum GPCA positivity than the healthy control group (all p < 0.001 except for vitamin B12 deficiency, for which p = 0.004). However, no significant difference in frequency of folic acid deficiency (p = 0.129) was found between BMS patients and healthy control individuals.


We conclude that there is a significant association of deficiency of Hb, iron, and vitamin B12; abnormally high blood homocysteine level; and serum GPCA positivity with BMS.

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