What is the prevalence of 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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Good epidemiologic data documenting incidence and prevalence of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) are lacking. Statistical values vary widely and are likely affected by variable definitions of burning mouth syndrome (BMS).

The overall prevalence is roughly 4%. [21] Women are 3-7 times more likely than men of a similar age to experience burning mouth syndrome (BMS) symptoms. [21, 22] Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is rarely observed in patients younger than age 30 years, and prevalence may increase from 3- to 12-fold with increasing age. [21] No racial or ethnic predilections have been reported.

Similar prevalences were found in a literature review by Wu et al, although the investigators reported the overall pooled prevalence of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) in the worldwide general population to be 1.73%. This prevalence was found to vary by region, being 1.05% in Asia, 1.10% in North America, and 5.58% in Europe. The prevalence in the general female population was estimated to be 1.15%, compared with 0.38% in the general male population. Moreover, older age was also seen here to increase the risk of burning mouth syndrome (BMS), with the prevalence being 1.92% in people under age 50 years and 3.31% in those over 50 years. [23]

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