Influence of anxiety on the production of oral volatile sulfur compounds

Life Sci. 2006 Jul 10;79(7):660-4. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2006.02.010. Epub 2006 Mar 29.


Since many patients complain about halitosis without there being any clinical evidence of its cause, psychological symptoms have been pointed out as halitosis-inducing factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of anxiety on the production of volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). Seventeen undergraduate men in good oral and general health participated in this study, after approval by the ethics committee. The volunteers were requested to refrain from toothbrushing, using mouth rinse and eating on the experimental day. Before presenting the anxiogenic condition, the volunteer was asked to fill out the Beck Anxiety Inventory questionnaire, to check whether he had been exposed to stressors during the previous week. The Video-Recorded Stroop Color-Word Test (VRSCWT) was used to elicit anxiety. The VSC (halimeter), blood pressure, heart rate and salivary flow measurements were taken before and after the VRSCWT. The volunteers presented a minimal or slight level of anxiety before the test. There was an increase in the oral concentration of VSC, Systolic Blood Pressure and of heart rate (p < 0.05) after the VRSCWT, and no changes in the salivary flow. The results of the present study showed that the anxiogenic condition (VRSCWT) induced increases in VSC concentration, which might contribute to halitosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / metabolism*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Sulfur Compounds / metabolism*


  • Sulfur Compounds