Search my Site:

Get our Bad Breath Research Newsletter!

Contact me!






Bad Breath (halitosis) Research


second_workshop.gif (3445 bytes)

Originally appeared in The Dentist, March 1996. Used with permission.

Mel Rosenberg (School of Dental Medicine, Tel Aviv University) and Daniel van Steenberghe (Department of Periodontology, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium)

Until just a few years ago, few scientists were inclined to take a serious academic interest in studying bad breath. Those that did were considered to be somewhat "eccentric" by colleagues in the research community. The Second World Workshop on Oral Malodor, held last month in Belgium, was a critical step in recognition of breath odour research as a legitimate, and important field for dental and medical research. The Workshop was attended by 130 experts from 14 countries, with major television and newpaper coverage.

The meeting was a great success in several aspects. Thirty-one outstanding oral and poster presentations summarized current scientific findings related to various aspects of breath odour research. Greenman and colleagues (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) challenged the dogma that Gram-negative microorganisms are solely responsible for oral malodor. Delanghe, Ghyselen and coworkers (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) described their multidisciplinary consultation service on oral malodour which combines concurrent examination by periodontist and ear- nose-throat specialist. The notion that one's inability to smell one's own bad breath because of adaptation was challenged by researchers from Tel Aviv University. Several groups presented data on successful new treatment regimens.

The highlight of the meeting was undoubtedly the workshop session itself, in which attention focused on three current issues:

  1. commercially available meters for measurement of bad breath;

  2. mouthrinses; and

  3. breath odor clinics.

Each of the workshop groups drafted a position paper which was then discussed and ratified in a general session. These papers called for:

  • Recognition of oral malodor as an identifiable condition which deserves professional attention ∑ Guidelines for clinical evaluation, stressing the importance of making an organoleptic comparison of the odour coming from the nose and mouth.

  • Development of additional diagnostic methods, enabling detection of the four types of gases (volatile sulphur compounds, volatile organic acids, indole/skatole and amines) considered to be part of the "bad breath cocktail".

  • Appropriate clinical trials to help practitioners and consumers make informed choices regarding product efficacy, based on scientific data.

  • Further research on the psychological aspects of breath odour complaints.

At the conclusion of the meeting, attendees agreed to work towards establishment of an International Society of Breath Odor Research. Vancouver, the epicenter of oral malodor research for three decades, was proposed as the site of the third workshop to be held in two years. A book based on the Workshop program, is due to be published in early 1996, and will complement the text "Bad Breath:Research Perspectives" which covered the First International Workshop on Oral Malodor and was published this year.

Originally appeared in The Dentist, March 1996. Used with permission.