Is Your Bad Breath a Sign of Bad Health?


Good oral hygiene consists of brushing, flossing, and rinsing teeth on a regular basis. Some people also use a water flosser or enjoy oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth for a few minutes, then spitting out.

But some people still have bad breath, despite these behaviors.

If bad breath is a frequent issue, it may indicate underlying health problems.

Don’t Overlook the Obvious

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to assess the basics when determining the cause of bad breath. Experts there say that it’s necessary to brush the surface of the tongue. People often overlook this area. However, a great deal of bacteria resides there.

Mayo Clinic experts also maintain that those with dental appliance like retainers, dentures, and partials may be less inclined to care for their oral hygiene. A clean, healthy mouth is vital, regardless of whether you still have all of your real teeth or not.

Of course, if you’ve changed your diet to include more coffee and garlic, well — that’s a likely culprit right there.

What Your Bad Breath May Mean

If you’re sure you’re not eating more garlic or bad-breath inducing foods more than normal, it’s possible that larger health problems could be at hand.

Here’s some background: persistent bad breath odor occurs when tiny stones develop in the tonsils. The stones are covered with bacteria that emit chemicals which result in the foul smell. According to Dr. Harold Katz, a dentist who focuses on bacteriology, this particular odor might smell like (be forewarned — it’s not pretty) rotting flesh. “It’s actually sulphur-producing bacteria that’s so deep in the tonsils that it can’t easily be remedied by simply brushing and rinsing. It’s this sulphuric smell that makes the breath smell so bad when someone is suffering from tonsillitis or tonsil stones,” Katz says.

It’s for this reason that a visit to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) may be in order. Bad breath may be a sign of chronic inflammation or an infection in your sinus, throat, or nose.

Diabetic ketoacidosis could also explain what you or your friends are smelling. This means that your body can’t properly break down glucose; instead, it breaks down body fat. This results in sweet-smelling, fruity breath. As nice as that may sound, it’s still out of the ordinary and should be looked into. It may even end up creating a buildup of problematic chemicals in your urine and blood.

Unfortunately, more serious health problems may be causing changes in your breath odor. For example, late-state liver failure has been associated with musty, yet sweet-smelling breath. This finding is so important that medical experts are thinking about using breath analysis to detect and diagnose liver pathologies.

Unusual-smelling breath may also indicate chronic kidney failure. In that case, breath may smell like ammonia or fish. This happens because of high concentrations of organic compounds in saliva.

As with any change in your body, from your breath to your vision and anything in between, be sure to get professional attention. Speak with a doctor, nutritionist, behaviorialist — whoever is best suited to address your physical and mental needs.

In the case of mouth odors that are different from your norm, first make sure you’re participating in proper oral hygiene habits. If it persists despite these actions, it could indicate something more serious. Have it looked into sooner than later.

Other articles you may enjoy:

How Golden Milk Can Keep You Out of (Health) Trouble

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5 Foods to Help Improve Eye Health

Follow Jennifer Lea Reynolds @JenSunshine or on her Facebook page, FlabbyRoad.

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