Objective. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between psychological, hormonal, and genetic factors with the development of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and secondary oral burning (SOB) in order to provide a better characterization and classification of these conditions.
Design. Cross sectional study.
Setting. Patients with complaints of mouth burning registered at the Oral Diagnostic Service of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte between 2000 and 2013.
Subjects. The sample consisted of 163 subjects divided into a group of patients with BMS (n = 64) and a group of subjects with SOB (n = 99).
Methods. The following variables were analyzed: passive and stimulated saliva flow, stress levels and phase, depression, anxiety, serum cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels, and the presence of polymorphisms in the interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene.
Results. The results showed significant differences in the presence of xerostomia (p = 0.01), hyposalivation at rest (p < 0.001) and symptoms of depression (p = 0.033) between the two groups, which were more prevalent in the BMS group. DHEA levels were lower in the BMS group (p = 0.003) and were sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of this condition. Genetic analysis revealed no significant association between the polymorphisms analyzed and the development of BMS.
Conclusion. These results suggest a possible role of depression, as well as of reduced DHEA levels, as associated factors for development of BMS.