A review of the current literature on management of halitosis

AMWT van den Broek, L Feenstra, C Baat

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115 Citations (Scopus)


Halitosis is an unpleasant or offensive odour, emanating from the oral cavity. In approximately 80% of all cases, halitosis is caused by microbial degradation of oral organic substrates. Major degradation products are volatile sulphur-containing compounds. In this review, the available management methods of halitosis and their effectiveness and significance are presented and discussed. Undoubtedly, the basic management is mechanically reducing the amount of micro-organisms and substrates in the oral cavity. Masking products are not, and antimicrobial ingredients in oral healthcare products are only temporary effective in reducing micro-organisms or their substrates. Good short-term results were reported with chlorhexidine. Triclosan seems less effective, essential oils and cetylpyridinium chloride are only effective up to 2 or 3 h. Metal ions and oxidizing agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide and iminium are active in neutralizing volatile sulphur-containing compounds. Zinc seems to be an effective safe metal at concentrations of at least 1%. The effectiveness of active ingredients in oral healthcare products is dependent on their concentration and above a certain concentration the ingredients can have unpleasant side effects. Tonsillectomy might be indicated if (i) all other causes of halitosis are managed properly; (ii) halitosis still persists and (iii) crypts in tonsils are found to contain malodorous substrates.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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