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PLoS One. 2016 Sep 22;11(9):e0163449. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163449. eCollection 2016.

Co-occurrence of Pain Symptoms and Somatosensory Sensitivity in Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Systematic Review.

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Clermont Université, Université d'Auvergne, Neuro-Dol, Clermont-Ferrand & Inserm U1107, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Service de Neurologie, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Facultad De Odontología, Universidad San Sebastián, Santiago, Chile.
CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Service d'Odontologie, Clermont-Ferrand, France.



Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic and spontaneous oral pain with burning quality in the tongue or other oral mucosa without any identifiable oral lesion or laboratory finding. Pathogenesis and etiology of BMS are still unknown. However, BMS has been associated with other chronic pain syndromes including other idiopathic orofacial pain, the dynias group and the family of central sensitivity syndromes. This would imply that BMS shares common mechanisms with other cephalic and/or extracephalic chronic pains. The primary aim of this systematic review was to determine whether BMS is actually associated with other pain syndromes, and to analyze cephalic and extracephalic somatosensory sensitivity in these patients.


This report followed the PRISMA Statement. An electronic search was performed until January 2015 in PubMed, Cochrane library, Wiley and ScienceDirect. Searched terms included "burning mouth syndrome OR stomatodynia OR glossodynia OR burning tongue OR oral burning". Studies were selected according to predefined inclusion criteria (report of an association between BMS and other pain(s) symptoms or of cutaneous cephalic and/or extracephalic quantitative sensory testing in BMS patients), and a descriptive analysis conducted.


The search retrieved 1512 reports. Out of these, twelve articles met criteria for co-occurring pain symptoms and nine studies for quantitative sensory testing (QST) in BMS patients. The analysis reveals that in BMS patients co-occurring pain symptoms are rare, assessed by only 0.8% (12 of 1512) of the retrieved studies. BMS was associated with headaches, TMD, atypical facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia, post-herpetic facial pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, joint pain, abdominal pain, rectal pain or vulvodynia. However, the prevalence of pain symptoms in BMS patients is not different from that in the age-matched general population. QST studies reveal no or inconsistent evidence of abnormal cutaneous cephalic and extracephalic somatosensory sensitivity.


There is no evidence for a high rate of other pain symptoms or somatosensory impairments co-occurring with BMS. These results thus suggest that BMS rather depends on specific mechanisms, likely at the trigeminal level. Nevertheless, more thoroughly conducted research is required to draw definitive conclusion.

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