Review of the treatment strategies for oral malodour

Clin Oral Investig. 2002 Mar;6(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s00784-002-0152-9.


Breath malodour, a significant social and/or psychological handicap, may be caused by several intra- and extraoral factors. Malodour of intraoral origin is the result of microbial putrefaction, during which volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) and other volatile compounds are produced. The treatment of oral malodour can therefore be focused on the reduction of the intraoral bacterial load and/or the conversion of VSC to nonvolatile substrates. This article outlines the efficacy and mechanisms of different antimalodour approaches. Most approaches were found to be inefficient and/or short lasting. The most successful treatment involves mechanical debridement (including toothbrushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning), possibly combined with the use of an antimicrobial mouthrinse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Chewing Gum
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dental Devices, Home Care
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control
  • Halitosis / etiology
  • Halitosis / microbiology
  • Halitosis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use
  • Sulfur Compounds / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sulfur Compounds / metabolism
  • Tongue / microbiology
  • Toothbrushing
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Chewing Gum
  • Mouthwashes
  • Sulfur Compounds
  • Toothpastes