Halitosis: a review of the etiologic factors and association with systemic conditions and its management

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2014 Nov 1;15(6):806-11. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-1622.


Halitosis is a general term defined as an unpleasant or offensive odor emanating from the breath, arising from either oral or nonoral sources. Extraoral factors, such as ear-nose-throat conditions or gastrointestinal, respiratory, and systemic diseases, may also contribute to oral malodor. Although, halitosis has a multifactorial etiology, local factors play an important role in the majority of cases. Halitosis may lead to significant personal discomfort and social embarrassment. Assessment of halitosis can be performed using organoleptic measurements, sulfide monitoring, gas chromatography, microbial testing and chemical test strips. Management approaches are based on masking oral malodor, reducing the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), and mechanical and/or chemical treatment. This review aims to identify the etiology of oral halitosis, describe the methods available for assessment and differential diagnosis and introduce a variety of management strategies. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach for the improvement of overall health and for the management and prevention of halitosis is highlighted.

Keywords: Halitosis; Management. How to cite this article: Mokeem SA. Halitosis: A Review of the Etiologic Factors and Association with Systemic Conditions and its Management. J Contemp Dent Pract 2014;15(6):806-811. Source of support: Nil Conflict of interest: None.; Metabolic disease; Oral malodor; Systemic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease
  • Halitosis / diagnosis
  • Halitosis / etiology*
  • Halitosis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / complications
  • Patient Care Team