Association between oral malodour and psychological characteristics in subjects with neurotic tendencies complaining of halitosis


Dr. Nao Suzuki, Section of General Dentistry, Department of General Dentistry, Fukuoka Dental College, 2-15-1, Tamura, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka 814-0193, Japan. Email:


Objective:  To assess the psychosomatically subjective symptoms of subjects with neurotic tendencies complaining of halitosis.

Design:  Breath malodour was measured in 368 patients using organoleptic test and gas chromatography. Neurotic tendency and subjective symptoms were assessed using the Cornell Medical Index (CMI).

Results:  Of the 79 subjects who met the criteria for neurotic tendencies according to CMI scores, 58 (73.4%) had oral malodour, whereas 21 (26.6%) did not. Coated tongue, periodontal pocket, and daily drinking were significantly more common in subjects with oral malodour. On the CMI questionnaire, subjects with no oral malodour more frequently responded ‘yes’ to questions about fatigue and psychological problems in their families. Additionally, many answered that they had perceived their own bad breath.

Conclusions:  Difficulties experienced by subjects with neurotic tendencies and oral malodour may manifest primarily in oral conditions, whereas those experienced by individuals with neurotic tendencies and no oral malodour may manifest primarily in psychosomatic symptoms.