The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported halitosis (SRH) and perceived taste disturbance (PTD) and analyze their association with age, gender, subjective oral dryness, burning mouth, tongue coating, number of teeth remaining, and type of dentures and wear duration in healthy elderly. Subjects who neither reported systemic disorders nor medication use were included in the study. The participants of this study were 254 healthy subjects, 116 males (mean age: 63.2 +/- 7.2 years) and 138 females (mean age: 61.9 +/- 6.8 years), all aged 55 years and above. A self-administered structured questionnaire on SRH and PTD was given to the participants. Each subject underwent a comprehensive dental examination by one of the examiners. The number of carious teeth, number of restorations, type of dentures (fixed-partial, removable-partial or complete dentures) and wear duration, and tongue coating status were recorded. Associations of the categorical background variables (age, gender, smoking status, tooth brushing frequency) with SRH and PTD were examined using the chi(2)-test. Spearman's rho correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between taste disturbance and SRH with relevant variables (p < 0.05). The prevalence of SRH was 28.3% and the prevalence of PTD was 8.3%. Use of the toothbrush less than once daily was the factor most strongly associated with SRH. Of the individuals with SRH, 73.6% reported subjective oral dryness (p < 0.001) and 9.7% had burning mouth (p = 0.008). Of the individuals with PTD, 71.4% reported subjective oral dryness (p = 0.003) and 14.3% had burning mouth (p = 0.019). Age (p < 0.05), denture type (p < 0.001), tongue coating (p < 0.001), frequency of tooth brushing (p < 0.000 for SRH and p < 0.05 for PTD) were significantly associated with SRH and PTD. Educational level of the participants was significantly different for SRH (p < 0.05). Gender was not found to be associated with either SRH or PTD (p > 0.05). We concluded that the factors most strongly associated with SRH and PTD were subjective oral dryness, tongue coating, inadequate oral hygiene practice and partial and/or complete denture wear. Other factors with significant associations included older age and lower education levels. Smoking was found to be associated with SRH. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.