A population-based study of the incidence of burning mouth syndrome

John J. Kohorst, Alison J. Bruce, Rochelle R. Torgerson, Louis A. Schenck, Mark D.P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective To calculate the incidence of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from 2000 through 2010.

Patients and Methods By using the medical record linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, we identified newly diagnosed cases of BMS from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2010. Diagnoses were confirmed through the presence of burning pain symptoms of the oral mucosa with normal oral examination findings and no associated clinical signs. Incidence was estimated using decennial census data for Olmsted County.

Results In total, 169 incident cases were identified, representing an annual age- and sex-adjusted incidence of BMS of 11.4 per 100,000 person-years. Age-adjusted incidence was significantly higher in women than in men (18.8 [95% CI, 16.4-22.9] per 100,000 person-years vs 3.7 [95% CI, 2.6-5.7] per 100,000 person-years; P<.001). Postmenopausal women aged 50 to 89 years had the highest incidence of the disease, with the maximal rate observed in women aged 70 to 79 years (70.3 per 100,000 person-years). After the age of 50 years, the incidence of BMS in men and women significantly increased across age groups (P=.02). Study participants residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota, were predominantly white, which is a study limitation. In addition, diagnostic criteria for identifying BMS in the present study may not apply for all situations because no diagnostic criteria are universally recognized for identifying BMS.

Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the first population-based incidence study of BMS reported to date. The data reveal that BMS is an uncommon disease highly associated with female sex and advancing age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1545-1552
Number of pages8
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Abbreviations and Acronyms BMS burning mouth syndrome REP Rochester Epidemiology Project

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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