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Research has indicated that hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, other thiols, and dimethyl sulfide, collectively referred to as volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), are the principal malodorants in chronic halitosis. These compounds are generated by anaerobic bacteria, located principally on the back of the tongue. The American Dental Association confirms that millions of people suffer from this condition in the United States alone. Standard consumer-available mouthwashes, capsules, and mints are completely ineffective in alleviating this problem.

Although sophisticated and expensive instrumentation methods have occasionally been employed to determine VSC, Interscan’s Halimeter® is the first unit specifically designed to measure VSC in a clinical setting.

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The gas sensor used in this instrument is among many others developed here, that give Interscan the capability of detecting parts-per-billion quantities of several gases, including those of interest in NASA’s space program.

The late Dr. Manny Shaw, Interscan’s original sensor guru, conceptualized and named the Halimeter®.

The Halimeter® is:

  • Easy to use
  • Small, portable, and lightweight
  • Based on sensor technology proven in industrial applications for more than 25 years.

Prior to its acceptance as a tool by dental practitioners, the Halimeter® was used as a measuring device in dental research studies. Correlating well with organoleptic assessments, the Halimeter® enables measurements of bad breath to be quantified in parts per billion (ppb).

Many doctors use the Halimeter® in conjunction with a strip chart recorder (penwriter), also offered by Interscan. In this way, a record called a HALIGRAM® may be obtained, which is important for comparison and patient file purposes. Computer-based recording devices are also available.

The Halimeter® is intended to be utilized as part of a total program, encompassing a thorough history and physical examination of the patient.

When properly employed, Halimeter® readings can serve as an excellent tool for monitoring the progress of halitosis treatment. Halimeter® data, by itself, cannot confirm the existence of breath malodor. VSC levels are not constant in any individual. As such, the dental practitioner is well advised to consider the results of additional test procedures, such as bacterial cultures and organoleptic methods, prior to formulating a diagnosis.

The emotional involvement of many patients with chronic halitosis demands that the practitioner follow a well established treatment protocol. The Halimeter® is a key element, but only one element, in a full treatment program.

The Halimeter® has found its greatest acceptance as a result of the recognition that halitosis is a dental problem. Complementing this was the introduction of special formulation mouthwashes and tongue cleaners which remove the VSC’s and kill the offending bacteria.

In just a few short years the Halimeter® has become the premier tool in chronic halitosis research and diagnosis. Used by over 3,000 dentists in private practice and academia, the Halimeter® is opening new vistas and profitable opportunities in the treatment of oral malodor.


For more information please visit the HALIMETER® website.