Examination, classification, and treatment of halitosis; clinical perspectives

J Can Dent Assoc. 2000 May;66(5):257-61.


Patients with halitosis may seek treatment from dental clinicians for their perceived oral malodour. In this article, an examination protocol, classification system and treatment needs for such patients are outlined. Physiologic halitosis, oral pathologic halitosis and pseudo-halitosis would be in the treatment realm of dental practitioners. Management may include periodontal or restorative treatment or both, as well as simple treatment measures such as instruction in oral hygiene, tongue cleaning and mouth rinsing. Psychosomatic halitosis is more difficult to diagnose and manage, and patients with this condition are often mismanaged in that they receive only treatments for genuine halitosis, even though they do not have oral malodour. A classification system can be used to identify patients with halitophobia. Additionally, a questionnaire can be used to assess the psychological condition of patients claiming to have halitosis, which enables the clinician to identify patients with psychosomatic halitosis. In understanding the different types of halitosis and the corresponding treatment needs, the dental clinician can better manage patients with this condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Halitosis* / classification
  • Halitosis* / diagnosis
  • Halitosis* / psychology
  • Halitosis* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tongue / microbiology


  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • methylmercaptan