Halitosis Assessment and Changes in Volatile Sulfur Compounds After Chewing Gum: A Study Performed on Dentistry Students

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Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study is to estimate the prevalence of halitosis (with subjective and objective methods), evaluate the immediate effect of chewing gum on volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), assess the perception of halitosis by dentistry students, and estimate the distribution of positive and negative frequencies, when comparing objective and subjective methods for the diagnosis of halitosis.

Methods

The study was performed on a sample of dentistry students attending the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Barcelona. A questionnaire about halitosis perception was provided and a clinical examination, organoleptic test (OT), and gas chromatography were performed to determine the presence of halitosis. The subjects were also given chewing gum to modify their breath, and gas chromatography was carried out to evaluate possible changes in VSCs.

Results

The sample comprised 80 individuals. Twenty-seven (33.75%) self-perceived halitosis during the period of evaluation; the OT was positive in 38 subjects (47.5%); and individuals positive for halitosis on gas chromatography were distributed as follows: H2S in 25 (31.25%), CH3SH in 28 (35%), and (CH3)2S in 70 individuals (87.5%). A statistical difference before and after chewing gum (P < .05) was found for each VSC; a difference in frequencies was observed between the variable OT and H2S (P < .05) and between the OT and (CH3)2S (P < .001). There was no significant difference (P > .05) between the positive and negative frequencies retrieved between the variable OT and CH3SH and between the OT and the student's halitosis perception.

Conclusion

Prevalence of halitosis in the studied sample is high, considering that it comprised healthy individuals. The relationship between the OT and gas chromatography is not completely established. Chewing gum could be considered a therapeutic alternative to decrease or neutralize the amount of VSCs present in oral breath.

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