What is the role of taste in burning mouth syndrome (BMS)?

Updated: Apr 15, 2021
  • Author: Vincent D Eusterman, MD, DDS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Chemoreceptors for taste are supplied by the chorda tympani branch of the facial nerve (VII) to the anterior two thirds of the tongue, while the posterior third of the tongue and pharynx are supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerve (IX). The chorda tympani is probably most responsible for taste alterations in burning mouth syndrome (BMS). A small population of taste receptors on the soft palate is supplied by the greater superficial petrosal nerve branch of the facial nerve. The larynx bears some taste receptors that are innervated by the superior laryngeal nerve. Trigeminal nerve (V) endings also supply some sensation of taste. They respond more to chemically active compounds such as ammonia, menthol, and capsaicin. Noxious stimuli can stimulate salivation and the cough reflex via these trigeminal afferents.

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