Halitosis is a concern for many people, but has sparsely been studied in elderly living in nursing homes. The aim of this investigation was to study the prevalence of halitosis in this particular group and factors that could be associated with this condition.

Method and materials

One hundred and twenty-four residents at three different nursing homes were included in the study. The level of halitosis was assessed using an organoleptic method based on a 6-graded scale. Oral status, including registrations of plaque, gingivitis and assessment of hyposalivation, was performed by two investigators who both examined all patients. Medical history, that is medication, neurological conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/asthma, dementia and mental illness, was obtained from the patient files. Registrations of the use of oral hygiene aids, ADL (Activity of Daily Life) and the frequency of contact with dental services were included in the clinical examination.


Halitosis occurred in over 50% of residents living in nursing homes and was found to be associated with the presence of hyposalivation, periodontal disease, calculus, fixed prosthodontics and dementia.


Halitosis was a common finding in the elderly living in Swedish nursing homes.

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