Self-reported severity of taste disturbances correlates with dysfunctional grade of TMD pain

J Oral Rehabil. 2009 Nov;36(11):792-800. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2009.01996.x. Epub 2009 Sep 11.


Altered central neural processing of sensory information may be associated with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) pain. The objectives of this study were to compare the prevalence of self-reported taste disturbances in TMD pain patients and in a control population, and to determine whether frequency of taste disturbances was correlated with dysfunctional grade of TMD pain. Subjects were 2026 people within a German population sample and 301 consecutive TMD patients diagnosed using the Research Diagnostic Criteria. Taste disturbances were measured using two questions from the Oral Health Impact Profile. Dysfunctional grade of TMD pain was measured with the Graded Chronic Pain Scale. A two-sample test of proportions revealed that TMD patients reported a greater frequency of taste disturbances, 6%, than did the general population subjects, 2% (P < 0.001). Moreover, the frequency of taste disturbances correlated with the dysfunctional grade of TMD pain. For each 1 unit increase in taste disturbance, the odds of observing a higher grade of TMD pain increased by 29% (95% CI: 3-63%, P = 0.03). Analysis by individual taste question and adjustment for age and gender did not substantially affect the results. These findings are consistent with a central neural dysfunction in TMD pain and suggest that a common neural substrate may underlie sensory disturbances of multiple modalities in chronic pain patients. Further research regarding taste disturbances and trigeminally mediated pains such as in TMD is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dysgeusia / etiology*
  • Dysgeusia / physiopathology
  • Facial Pain / complications*
  • Facial Pain / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / complications*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology