Aims: The aim of this paper was to analyse the aetiology and characteristics of 2000 patients who visited a multidisciplinary bad breath clinic in Leuven, Belgium and to correlate organoleptic ratings with portable device measurements.
Materials and methods: The characteristics and aetiology of breath malodour of two thousand consecutive patients who visited a halitosis consultation were explored by means of a standard questionnaire and a clinical examination, including organoleptic scores provided by a trained and calibrated judge, and a portable bad breath detector (Halimeter).
Results: Most patients came without referral and had complaints for several years (mean: 7 years, SD: 8 years). For 76% of the patients, an oral cause was found [tongue coating (43%), gingivitis/periodontitis (11%) or a combination of the two (18%)]. Pseudo-halitosis/halitophobia was diagnosed in 16% of the cases; and ear, nose and throat/extra-oral causes were found in 4% of the patients. Most patients had an organoleptic score <3 and a Halimeter value <240 p.p.b.
Conclusions: Even though it was observed that halitosis has a predominantly oral origin, a multidisciplinary approach remains necessary to identify ear, nose and throat or extra-oral pathologies and/or pseudo-halitosis/halitophobia.