Orofacial pain symptoms: An interaction between age and sex

Academic Article


  • This study investigated sex and age cohort differences in the subjective report of orofacial pain symptoms in a stratified sample of community dwelling adults. The subjects were 724 participants in the Florida Dental Care Study, a longitudinal study of oral health among dentate adults, age 45 and older at baseline. Pain prevalence and subjective ratings were assessed for a range of orofacial pain sites using a standardized telephone interview. The results suggest that the 6-month prevalence of jaw joint pain (8.3%), face pain (3.1%), toothache pain (12.0%), painful oral sores (15.6%), and burning mouth (1.6%) found in the FDCS sample are similar to United States population estimates. In addition, prevalence for pain when chewing and temperature sensitivity were also reported as 23% and 24% respectively, suggesting that these two seldom documented painful experiences are common. Female respondents reported higher 6-month prevalence for multiple symptoms and painful oral sores, with trends also observed for female sex as a risk factor for jaw joint pain and face pain, whereas males were more likely to report temperature sensitivity. A higher percentage of females rated their pain as severe enough to impact behavior for jaw joint pain, toothache pain, and painful oral sores. Few overall age effects were found, with the exception of higher prevalence of temperature sensitivity and pain when chewing in the 45-64-year-old group, compared to respondents in the 65+ age cohort. However, the most interesting finding was that when sex by age cohort comparisons were made, with the exception of painful oral sores, all significant differences in pain ratings were found within the 45-64-year-old cohort and not the 65+ group. This finding clarified inconsistencies found in earlier studies in the orofacial pain literature where sex differences in pain ratings were found in several adult samples of a wide range of ages but not in a sample of older adults. © 2001 International Association for the Study of Pain.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PAIN  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Riley JL; Gilbert GH
  • Start Page

  • 245
  • End Page

  • 256
  • Volume

  • 90
  • Issue

  • 3