You are at a party and across the room you see that “perfect someone!” You want to approach him or her, but dare not!  “OH NO? What if my breath smells bad???” While this might be a perfectly normal though process for most of us, there is actually a group of people out there who imagine they have halitosis, even when they don’t! Their fear of having bad breath is so extreme, their condition has a name, halitophobia, otherwise known as delusional halitosis.  And many who suffer from this delusion seek professional help to deal with their fears!

Such fear may be fed by mainstream media, with pervasive ads about mouthwash, breath mints and flavored gums, and, although some of these treatments have a beneficial effect, those who suffer from halitophobia dwell on these cures and may become obsessed with being sure to always have the treatments close at hand.

So, you say, I am concerned about my breath – does this make me halitophobic? Not necessarily and, frankly, probably not. Those who suffer from this condition may also have other psychological issues, such as OCD or hypochondria. And, while we certainly do not profess to be experts on the many possible causes of this disorder, we know that there are similar disorders, such as Olfactory Reference Syndrome, where a person may be preoccupied with his or her own body odor.

How do I know for sure? Visit your dentist. A professional diagnosis can measure some of the bad-breath-producing enzymes in your mouth. A professional can also use something called an organoleptic test, where the clinician smells and rates the patient’s breath from a number of distances, similar to a vision test performed by an eye specialist. If the patient is persistent in thinking he or she has bad breath, despite the clinician’s negative findings, then halitophobia may be indicated and a psychological consultation may be in order.

The bottom line is that every one of us suffers from bad breath at some point in our lives. It is a natural phenomenon. Being concerned about it is just as natural, but with a good oral hygiene routine, including daily use of the TUNG Brush and Gel, you can minimize your bad breath, not obsess over it and walk across the room to say hello to that “perfect someone” with no fear!