Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Physiology 2014 (London, UK) (2014) Proc Physiol Soc 31, PCB043

Poster Communications

Investigating the relationship between self-reported halitosis and self-reported olfactory acuity

A. Dumitrescu1, D. Badita2

1. Private practice, Bucharest, Romania. 2. University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila", Bucharest, Romania.


Motivation/problem statement: Oral malodor (halitosis) is a general term used to define an unpleasant or offensive odor emanating from the breath regardless of whether the odor originates from oral or non-oral sources, which are not transient and or easily reversible by standard oral hygiene practices. Halitosis represents a common dental condition, reported by 10-30% of the population, although sufferers are often not conscious of it. It has been showed that halitosis is strongly associated with a strong trait of social anxiety disorder as well as with an impaired quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between oral malodor quality of life and self-reported olfactory acuity.Methods/procedure/approach: The subjects of the study were 274 first-year dental students at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila", Bucharest, Romania who were randomly invited to this survey at the end of the academic year. The questionnaire consisted of 1) Questions related to oral malodor ("Did you notice to have bad breath?" and "Has Someone Told You That You Have Bad Breath?"), 2) The Halitosis Associated Life-quality Test (HALT) (Kizhner et al., 2011), 3) The Self-administered odor questionnaire (SAOQ) (Takebayashi et al., 2011) and 4) Visual analogue scale (VAS) of a self-administered olfaction test (McCormack et al., 1998).Results: The Cronbach's alpha for the HALT test was 0.95 while for the SAOQ was 0.87. The self-rating of oral malodour revealed that 10.7% of the subjects believed to have halitosis. However, only 7% reported that someone told them that they have bad breath. In the whole sample, SAOQ and VAS values were inter-correlated (r = 0.18; P=0.004), while the Halitosis Associated Life-quality Test significantly correlated with gender (r = - 0.15; P<0.05) and with the positive answer to the two questions related to oral malodor (r = - 0.31; P<0.0001, respectively r = - 0.23; P<0.0001). Regarding the organoleptic measures, HALT correlated significantly with both Self-administered odor questionnaire (SAOQ) (r = - 0.27; P<0.0001) and VAS self-administered olfaction test (r = - 0.23; P<0.0001). When we investigated only the participants who answered positively to the first question related to oral malodor ("Did you notice to have bad breath?"), higher correlations were found between the HALT, SAOQ and VAS scales (r = 0.48; P = 0.009, respectively r = -0.49; P<0.05). When we investigated only the participants who answered positively to the second question related to oral malodor ("Has Someone Told You That You Have Bad Breath?"), no correlation were found between the HALT and the organoleptic tests (SAOQ: r = -0.29; P>0.05, respectively VAS: r = -0.09; P>0.05). Conclusion/implications: Self-estimation of bad breath is significantly correlated with the self- and organoleptic assessment.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements