Background: There is a possibility that genuine halitosis patients' anxiety do not recover after oral malodor treatment due to their social anxiety disorder. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of social anxiety disorder on the level of anxiety in genuine halitosis patients before and after treatment for oral malodor.
Methods: The subjects were 262 genuine halitosis patients who visited the Fresh Breath Clinic from March, 2008 to October, 2009. The subjects who had score 2 or higher by the organoleptic test were diagnosed as genuine halitosis patients. Gas chromatography (GC) was conducted before and after oral malodor treatment for the oral malodor measurement. Based on their risk of social anxiety disorder, subjects were divided into low- and high-risk groups using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). The questions related to oral malodor and the clinical oral examination were both conducted before oral malodor treatment. The level of anxiety before and after oral malodor treatment was evaluated using the Visual Analogue Scale of Anxiety (VAAS).
Results: More than 20% of subjects had a score of 60 or more on the LSAS (high LSAS group). The mean age and the percentage of females were significantly higher in the high LSAS group compared to the low LSAS group. The high LSAS group was more likely to have problems associated with oral malodor and to adopt measures against oral malodor compared to the low LSAS group. The mean concentrations of H2S and CH3SH by GC significantly decreased after the oral malodor treatment in both LSAS groups. VAAS scores also significantly decreased after treatment in both LSAS groups. The logistic regression analysis indicated that the high LSAS group had a 2.28 times higher risk of having a post-VAAS score of 50 or more compared to the low LSAS group.
Conclusions: This study revealed that genuine halitosis patients with a strong trait of social anxiety disorder have difficulty overcoming their anxiety about oral malodor. Oral malodor treatment of genuine halitosis patients requires not only regular oral malodor treatment but also attention to social anxiety disorder.