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Important things you need to know about bad breath

April 10th,2018

Halitosis (Bad Breath) is the common dental issue adjacent to tooth decay and periodontal diseases. People suffering from this oral issue feel more distress and embarrassing to speak because of the nasty disorder in their mouth. Unlike other major dental diseases, bad breath affects one’s professional and social life along with his/her oral health because nobody likes to stand nearby an unpleasant odor.

The major cause of bad breath is the breakdown of the food particles left in our mouth by bacteria. It releases some stinky compounds that smell bad and results in bad breath.

Besides bacteria, bad breathe is also caused by other health problems. To say simply, bad breath or halitosis may be a symptom of any serious diseases.

What are the factors that cause breath odor?

Poor Oral Hygiene

As mentioned earlier, bacteria present in our mouth are the main reason behind bad breath. Hence it is crucial to remove them effectively by maintaining good oral hygiene like brushing, flossing.

Otherwise, bacteria will take advantage of the food and sugary particles subside on the teeth and gums. This makes the condition worse. Similarly, if the dentures are not properly cleaned, it also results in unpleasant odor in the mouth.

Dry mouth

Saliva helps us to drastically reduce and eliminate the bacteria present in our mouth. If there is a lack of salivary production or saliva flow, it will cause dry mouth and lead to bad breath.

Drugs and medications

Few medications are powerful to break the chemical components in it after they are consumed. Such chemicals absorb the saliva and cause odors.

Similarly, alcohol present in drugs ingest the saliva in our mouth and make our mouth dry. It is also the main reason for Halitosis.

Tobacco Consumption

Everyone knows that tobacco is harmful to health but it is more prone to our gums. The toxic particles in tobacco affect our gums and causing gum diseases. Such periodontal diseases are also a cause for bad breath.

Health issues

Few health issues like kidney failure, liver failure and others will obstruct the functioning system of our body and release acids. Such acids get to mix with other chemicals we intake via our food or medications. It also causes bad breath.

If the bad breath is caused due to certain diseases or health issues, we can diagnose or identify the affected organ with the odor we smell. It is given below:

  • An odor of Ammonia – Kidney problems
  • Fruity smell – Increase of insulin in the blood due to diabetes
  • Fecal odor – Bowel obstruction
  • Fishy smell – increased level of urea because of kidney diseases
  • Musty odor – Liver problems
  • Acidic smell – Asthma

Types of Bad breath

Bad breath caused by diseases and health issues are categorized as follows:

  1. Drug-induced bad breath
  2. Lung breath
  3. Tonsil breath
  4. Sinus breath
  5. Diabetes breath
  6. Metabolic breath
  7. Liver breath
  8. Gut breath
  9. Menstrual breath
  10. Trimethylaminuria breath
  11. Drug breath
  12. Halitophobia

Drug breath

It is caused by the intake of certain medications and drugs. The components present in drugs absorb saliva and make our mouth dry.

Drugs to treat diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Obesity, Asthma are powerful to cause bad drug breath.

Lung Breath

  • Usually, lung breathe is caused by lung infections like TB, pulmonary abscess, Bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Lung breath is also a symptom of lung cancer.
  • Other concerns like Asthma, Cystic fibrosis also cause bad breath.

Tonsil Breath

Tonsils are the two small pads of glandular tissue present at the end of our throat. If a food particle gets stuck in the tonsils, it will become harder and develop as tonsil stones. It is also responsible for bad odor in the mouth.

Sinus Breath

It is caused by the build-up of microbes in the nasal sinus and other surrounding tissues. The sinus infection is classified as

  • Sinusitis – Inflammation of the nasal sinus
  • Nasal Polyps – excessive growth of sinus linings which connects the nose and sinus. If a soft tissue like substance grows on the linings, it will cause blocked nose which leads to bad breath.
  • Post-Nasal Drip

Diabetes Breath

The human body of a diabetic patient produces less amount of insulin. Hence his/her body needs to burn more fat. Such fat burning process produces a chemical named “Ketone”. The Ketone is also a reason for the unpleasant odor in the mouth.

Metabolic Breath

Consuming low-carbohydrate foods and food items that are not rich in nutrients is also a reason for bad breath. As our body does not get sufficient nutrients in the fast food, then the body has to burn fats for effective functioning. It produces “Ketone” which causes bad breath.

Liver Breath

Liver failure is the main reason for liver breath which produces sweet, musty odor in the mouth.

Gut Breath

When our digestion system is obstructed or disturbed, it will produce some stomach acids. Such acids also cause bad breath which comes under the category of Gut Breath.

Menstrual Breath

Women are more prone to gum infections during their menstrual period. In such cases, their salivary flow level is lesser than the normal period.  Thus it causes dry mouth and leads to bad breath.

Trimethylaminuria breath

The macronutrient named choline is essential for muscle movement, brain development, kidney functioning and so on. If the human body is not able to break down the choline, it will provide a way to develop Trimethylaminuria. It causes Trimethylaminuria breath that smells like fishy, rotten eggs.

People suffering from bad breath may not know whether it is due to oral infection or health issues. By visiting dentists, they can find the cause of the bad breath and get treatment to get rid of the breath odor if it is caused by oral infections.


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