Burning mouth syndrome and mast cell activation disorder.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS), a chronic diffuse oral pain syndrome affecting ∼1% of the general population, is diagnosed when explanatory oral pathology and other identifiable causes are absent. BMS has been recognized for decades, but its etiology remains unknown and has not previously been attributed to mast cell disease. Three cases of BMS are reported in which evidence of an underlying mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) was found; all 3 patients' oral pain responded well to MCAD-directed therapy. Mediators released from mast cells have a wide range of local and remote effects and potentially may cause the neuropathic changes and/or inflammation thought to lead to the symptoms of BMS. Mast cell disease either in oral tissue or at sites remote from the mouth should be considered in the differential diagnosis of BMS.
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