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Halitophobia

We’ve all seen the commercials for Dentine Ice and Orbit gum and even TicTacs. In society, there is a great influence on having fresh breath. Some people however, take this to the extreme and become obsessive in keeping up their appearances and trying to maintain their social status. There is such a fear that comes from an obsession with having fresh breath. This fear is known as Halitophobia, or the fear of having bad breath. People who become consumed in living a superficial way of life are likely to fall victim to phobias such as this one.

Factors leading to Halitophobia:

  • Delusion
  • Hypochondria
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Olfactory reference syndrome

Common Facts of Halitophobia

This phobia has also been referred to as delusional halitosis. Halitosis is the actual medical condition of having extremely bad breath. Those who suffer with halitophobia only think they have halitosis, when actually they do not at all. People who suffer with this fear use different methods to cope, most of which can be attributed some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder. Dentists estimate that only about 25 percent of people who approach them with fears of having halitosis actually have the ailment. The other 75 percent only imagine the ailment and simply have the fear, or Halitophobia. While still rare, causes of Halitophobia include delusion, hypochondria, obsessive compulsive disorder, or olfactory reference syndrome (the excessive preoccupation that their body odor is unpleasant).

People who suffer with Halitophobia brush their teeth constantly. Compulsively, in a sense. They are totally self-conscious about their breath and take extreme measures to ensure (to the best of their ability) that they do not have bad breath. Some people actually go as far as to remove their teeth for fear of halitosis. This exaggerated fear can lead to isolation and eventually depression. In the most severe cases, it is estimated that only 1 percent of the population suffers from Halitophobia. You can take action and seek treatment to live a new, healthy life.

Treatment of Halitophobia

When people with this phobia seek out their dentist for treatment, the dentist will assess the situation to determine whether or not the patient has halitosis. Once it is determined that the patient does not have halitosis, but does indeed have Halitophobia, they will refer the patient to a psychological specialist. It is important that you are referred to a genuine psychotherapist because there are underlying issues that need to be resolved other than just the phobia. Clinicians are able to examine the psychological condition of the patient and give appropriate treatment according to the level of mental stability exhibited by the patient.

View Resources

  • Health Tree – causes and symptoms of the phobia.
  • PubMed.gov – offers treatment options for halitophobia.
  • HealthMad – causes, treatment, general overview.

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