Does oral dryness influence pressure pain sensitivity in the oral mucosa of removable denture wearers?



This study aimed to determine if oral dryness is associated with oral pain sensitivity in removable denture wearers.

Materials and methods

The pressure pain threshold (PPT) in the mucosa at the midline between the central incisors in the maxilla and mandible was evaluated in 333 removable denture wearers (mean age 71.2 years, male 33.3%). The frequency of oral dryness and severity of anxiety were evaluated using self-reported questionnaires. Multilevel analyses considering the correlated data structure (jaws nested within individual) adjusted for age, sex, number of missing teeth, anxiety level, smoking status, and systemic diseases were performed to examine the association between PPT and oral dryness. Further subgroup analysis stratified by number of missing teeth was performed.


Oral dryness was present in 122 (21.6%) of 566 jaws in 73 (21.9%) of the 333 subjects. The mean (standard deviation) of the log PPT was 2.00 (0.26) in the subjects who perceived oral dryness and 2.04 (0.22) in those who did not. Oral dryness was associated with a lower log PPT, but the relationship was not significant (coefficient − 0.017; 95% confidence interval − 0.071, 0.038). Subjects with oral dryness and edentulous oral mucosa had a significantly lower PPT (coefficient − 0.145; 95% confidence interval − 0.283, − 0.006) than their partially dentate counterparts.


There was a significant association of oral dryness with increased pressure pain sensitivity in the oral mucosa only in jaws with complete dentures.

Clinical relevance

The approach to oral dryness could contribute to reduction of oral pain sensitivity.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Confidence interval


Pressure pain threshold


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We are most grateful to Dr. Hayato Kumagai for his collaboration in this research.


This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (No. 25861826), a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (No. 15K11150), and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (No. 18K17137) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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Correspondence to Kenji Fueki.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of Tokyo Medical and Dental University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Inamochi, Y., Fueki, K., Matsuyama, Y. et al. Does oral dryness influence pressure pain sensitivity in the oral mucosa of removable denture wearers?. Clin Oral Invest 24, 2603–2609 (2020).

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  • Oral dryness
  • Pressure pain threshold
  • Removable denture
  • Oral pain sensitivity