Self-perceived halitosis influences social interactions

A. de Jongh, A.J. van Wijk, M. Horstman, C. de Baat

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: To determine the impact of self-perceived halitosis on social interactions, and the effect of using an oral rinse for management of halitosis.

Methods: A survey among a representative sample of the Dutch population (n = 1082), and a pre-post study among a sample of consecutive coming-by volunteers (n = 292).

Results: Participants of the representative sample rated their oral odor as 66.8 ± 17.2 and the consecutive volunteers as 70.9 ± 16.7 (range: 0–100). Sizable proportions (15.3 % and 38.1 %, respectively) indicated to always take into account their (bad) oral odor when meeting a person for the first time. The worse people perceived their oral odor, the more likely they were to take into account to keep a certain distance. Following the use of the oral rinse, a significant decline was found of the extent to which the participants reported to take into account their oral odor when meeting a person for the first time. Both studies identified a subgroup of individuals (9.1 % and 28.1 % respectively) who reported to keep a certain distance when meeting other people, despite a “fresh” self-perceived oral odor.

Conclusion: The results suggest that self-perceived oral odor negatively affects social interactions, and that adequate management of halitosis has the potential to improve such interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Oral Health
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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