To compare differences in oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) between halitosis and non-halitosis patients and to explore relationships between halitosis and OHRQoL.


Patients who visited the halitosis clinic at the Ninth People’s Hospital and were diagnosed with halitosis were included in the halitosis group. The control group consisted of patients without halitosis. All participants were assessed for halitosis (volatile sulphur compound measurements with a portable sulphide monitor, Oral Chroma and organoleptic tests), underwent a clinical oral examination (dental caries status and periodontal condition) and completed a questionnaire. Oral health-related quality of life was measured using the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14, Chinese version).


A total of 204 patients (102 halitosis and 102 controls) were included. The halitosis group had significantly higher OHIP-14 scores (severity) than the control group (15.7 versus 7.9, P < 0.001). The mean number of items with negative impact (extent) was significantly different between the halitosis and control groups (1.8 versus 0.3, P < 0.001). Around 56% of participants in the halitosis group reported at least one item with ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’ (prevalence), while 21% did so in the control group (P < 0.001). In halitosis patients, the most commonly reported negative impacts were within the domains of ‘psychological discomfort’ and ‘psychological disability’.


Oral health-related quality of life status was significantly poorer in halitosis patients than in non-halitosis patients. Halitosis patients may experience some degree of psychological discomfort and disability.

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