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Quintessence Int. 1999 May;30(5):324-7.

Self-assessment of oral malodor 1 year following initial consultation.

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Department of Oral Biology, Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.



In an initial study, subjects complaining of bad breath were generally unable to score the level of their own oral malodor in an objective fashion. Subjects were taught several techniques for self-measurement of bad breath. One year following the initial consultation, subjects were recalled to determine whether their ability to assess their own oral malodor had improved.


In the study, subjects were blinded to their own scores 1 year earlier, to the odor-judge scores, and to the results of the clinical laboratory tests. Thirty-two of 43 subjects in the original study who presented with a complaint of oral malodor agreed to participate in the follow-up study. Odor-judge scores and self-assessments of oral malodor (whole-mouth odor, tongue odor, and saliva odor) were compared with one another as well as with clinical parameters.


Objective improvements were noted in both oral health parameters and malodor levels of subjects. Despite this, self-assessments generally remained unrelated to objective parameters (odor-judge scores, clinical indices, and laboratory tests). Self-assessments were all significantly correlated with one another, and also were significantly associated with corresponding self-estimates made 1 year earlier.


Subjects with a complaint of oral malodor remain largely unable to score their own bad breath in an objective fashion. In addition, they are not capable of sensing reductions in oral malodor 1 year following the original assessment, even though, from a clinical standpoint, improvements have taken place.

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