Self-estimation of Oral Malodor

M. Rosenberg*, A. Kozlovsky, I. Gelernter, O. Cherniak, J. Gabbay, R. Baht, I. Eli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bad breath (halitosis, oral malodor) is a common condition, usually the result of microbial putrefaction within the oral cavity. Often, people suffering from bad breath remain unaware of it, whereas others remain convinced that they suffer from foul oral malodor, although there is no evidence for such. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether objective self-measurement of oral malodors is possible. Each of 52 volunteers was asked to sample the odor from his/her mouth, tongue, and saliva. Results were compared with (i) self-assessments prior to (preconception) and following (post-measurement) self-measurements; (ii) odor judge scores; (iii) dental measurements (plaque index, gingival index, and probing depth); (iv) volatile sulphide levels; (v) salivary cadaverine levels; and (vi) intra-oral trypsin-like activity. Among the self-measurements, only saliva self-scores yielded significant correlations with objective parameters. Despite the partial objectivity of saliva self-estimates, subsequent post-measurement self-assessments failed to correlate with objective parameters. The results suggest that (i) preconceived notions confound the ability to score one's own oral malodors in an objective fashion; and (ii) partial objectivity can be obtained in the case of saliva self-measurement, presumably because the stimulus is removed from the body proper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1577-1582
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995


  • dental indices
  • halitosis
  • odor judge
  • psychopathology
  • self-estimation


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