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Int Dent J. 2015 Apr;65(2):65-70. doi: 10.1111/idj.12145. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Diagnosis and treatment of patients with halitosis by dental hygienists and dentists in the Netherlands.

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Dutch Dental Hygienists' Association (Nederlandse Vereniging van Mondhygiënisten NVM)-Foundation for Research and Education, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands; SPOH ARTS: International Oral Health Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The aims of this study were to ascertain the knowledge level of halitosis in dental hygienists and dentists in the Netherlands and to examine how they deal with patients with halitosis.


A written survey (comprising 29 questions on personal and professional characteristics, clinical observation and treatment of halitosis, the referral of patients with halitosis and expert knowledge of halitosis) was randomly distributed to a sample of 327 Dutch dentist members of the Royal Dutch Dental Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij tot bevordering der Tandheelkunde; KNMT) and to a sample of 205 members of the Dutch Dental Hygienists' Association (members of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Mondhygiënisten; NVM). A total sample of 168 oral health professionals (92 NVM-dental hygienists and 76 dentists) was included.


This sample can be considered as representative of the population of dental hygienists and dentists working in the Netherlands. Knowledge of halitosis in NVM-dental hygienists and dentists was generally the same. In both professions, attention to, and treatment of, halitosis did not take place at every patient contact, even among those who were able to treat patients with halitosis.


This study supports the importance of training programmes aimed at increasing assertiveness, as well as the social and communication skills of dentists and dental hygienists to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with halitosis. A guideline on screening, diagnosis and treatment of halitosis may be useful to improve the attitude and behaviour of oral health-care professionals, ultimately aimed at stimulating optimal oral health care.


Knowledge; dental hygienists; dentists; halitosis; the Netherlands

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