Blog 2/21/2018

Weekly Clinical Service Dose: 8 Conditions Your Breath Can Reveal

Want to Know What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath is embarrassing! We all know. But a quick breath check can save you from more than just an awkward social situation — it could save your life.

However, gastric cancer isn’t the only medical condition your breath can reveal. Bad-breath odors vary and depend on the underlying cause.

Here are some common bad-breath causes:

  1. Food. As food particles break down in the mouth, bacteria increase, resulting in bad odors. Onions, garlic, and certain spices are common bad-breath causes.
  2. Tobacco products. Smoking tobacco also results in smelly breath, as does chewing tobacco.
  3. Poor dental habits. Not flossing or brushing your teeth regularly is a common cause of bad breath. This happens when tiny bits of food stay trapped in your mouth. Your tongue can be another bad-breath cause as bacteria coats it, causing foul odors.
  4. Dry mouth. A condition called dry mouth be a bad-breath cause as saliva in the mouth is reduced. Dry mouth is a common cause of morning breath, especially in people who sleep with their mouth open.
  5. Dental infections. Tooth decay, gum disease, surgical wounds, and dying teeth are all causes of bad breath.
  6. Postnasal drip. Mucus that hardens in the tonsils can be a cause of bad breath. Chronic postnasal drip and sinus drainage are also bad-breath causes.
  7. GERD. An acidic stomach or chronic reflux of stomach acid (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) is linked to bad breath. Treating GERD may cure the bad breath.
  8. Other serious causes. Some types of cancer and metabolic diseases can leave a distinctive breath smell. Talk to your doctor if you detect a metallic or other odor.

While poor dental hygiene accounts for most cases of halitosis, bad breath can sometimes signal another underlying medical condition. And you don’t have to give off an odor, either: Even the freshest breath can be screened for various health problems.


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