015 – Say Ahhh: What do GPs, dentists and community pharmacists do about bad breath?

  • Chief Investigator A: Dr Phyllis Lau
  • Chief Investigator B: Prof Ivan Darby
  • Associate Investigators: Dr Michelle Middleton, Dr Malcolm Clark
  • Research Collaborators: Chythra Meethal, Meaghan Quinn
  • Funding: Department of General Practice and Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne


Halitosis or bad breath is a common problem with many causes, both intraoral and systemic. The ‘Say Ahhh’ study is a collaborative project between eviDent and the Victorian Research Network (VicReN) that will look at the management of this common yet potentially complex condition by GPs, dentists and community pharmacists.

Research is needed to explore the need for inter-professional collaboration in the detection, screening and management of halitosis. In particular, the collaboration among primary care providers like GPs, dentists and community pharmacists will be investigated. This is important, as there is evidence that patients with halitosis are more likely to present to pharmacists and GPs when compared to dentists.

There is a perception that pharmacists and GPs are more accessible than dentists and, importantly, halitosis is commonly regarded as trivial due to the common perception that the condition is caused only by poor oral hygiene.


The project aims to improve the primary care management of patients with halitosis.


The project found:

  • General medical practitioners and dentists often feel uneasy when starting conversations with their patients about halitosis
  • Most general medical practitioners, dentists and pharmacists find it challenging to manage patients with halitosis and are interested in working together
  • Improving health professionals’ knowledge and training will contribute to comprehensive interprofessional halitosis management