Relational impact of halitosis: A study of young adult Nigerians
Introduction: Halitosis is a prevalent oral condition that frequently causes personal and social embarrassment with consequent interactional difficulties. The objective of this study was to assess the relational impact of halitosis.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among undergraduates of University of Benin, Nigeria. Demographic characteristics, perception of value of fresh breath in social contact, rank of halitosis in first impression impairment, frequency of encounter with halitosis sufferers and their interactional difficulties, and readiness to inform sufferers about the condition were assessed using self-administered validated questionnaire.
Results: About three-quarters(77.3%) of the respondents agreed [slightly agree(11.3%) and agree(66.0%)] that fresh breath is an important factor in social contacts. This was significantly associated with gender. Halitosis was ranked as second after body odour among factor that turn respondents off when meeting individuals for the first time. A total of 14.0% of the respondents always anticipated the possibility of halitosis on first contact with individual(s). The majority of the respondents believed that halitosis sufferers experience difficulty in getting good jobs, getting married and suffer marital disharmony. Readiness to inform halitosis sufferers about their condition was high. The level and mode of informing the halitosis sufferers about the condition varied with the intimacy of the relationship.
Conclusion: Fresh breath was highly considered as an important factor in social contacts. The high level of encounter with halitosis sufferers and high readiness of disclosure of condition to sufferers were noted. Difficulty in getting good jobs, getting married and marital disharmony experiences were the perceived interactional difficulty.
Keywords: halitosis, prevalence, interaction, relationship, odour