Bad breath doesn’t always mean poor hygiene, but it may be a symptom of an untreated disease. The smell of your breath can tell a lot about different health issues you might have and which doctor you should see. A fruity smell, for instance, means that you might have diabetes.
At Bright Side, we’ve put together a list of 11 health conditions associated with bad breath. Take note of these and make an appointment with the doctor if you think your breath may be a symptom of something serious. Make sure you read the bonus at the end as well – it just might open your eyes to some very important issues.
11. Periodontitis, or gum disease – rotting teeth smell
If you have a rotten tooth, then your breath will definitely be letting you know that something is wrong. If that’s the case, then it’s necessary to make an appointment with a dentist. Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the 2 conditions associated with rotting teeth and bad odor from your mouth.
10. Respiratory conditions – mothball smell
Allergies or any other respiratory diseases, such as common colds or cases of the flu may cause bad breath, thus making it easier for you to understand what the problem is behind it. The bacteria that enters your mouth becomes the reason for the bad smell. It usually disappears on its own when you get well. However, if you have chronic sinusitis, then you might have to discuss the matter with your doctor.
9. Acid reflux or heartburn – sour smell
If your breath smells sour, then there is a condition associated with it – acid reflux. In order to control the smell and make it disappear, you will have to take control of your condition first. Also, changing your diet and excluding certain foods such as alcohol, garlic, spicy food, and coffee may also help.
8. Diabetes – fruity smell
A fruity smell from your mouth wouldn’t be considered a problem if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a symptom of a much more serious issue. Such an odor can only appear when a person is about to develop a diabetic ketoacidosis. Make an appointment with an endocrinologist if you notice this type of breath.
7. Stomach cancer or H.Pylori – metallic taste and smell
A metallic taste in your mouth with a similar breath odor is a typical sign of a serious condition – stomach cancer at advanced stages. However, it must be noted that sometimes certain medications can give similar bad breath.
5. Lung cancer – rotting smell
Lung cancer, just any other cancer, is known to produce a certain odor in the breath and it’s often described as a rotting smell. So, if your breath has changed and is definitely smelling of something rotten, then it’s absolutely time to see a doctor.
4. Kidney failure – a fishy smell
If you’ve had a “fishy” smell when you exhale that might mean that you have a kidney failure. Basically, it stops getting rid of the waste it usually “filters” from your system. The disease is very serious, so putting off going to a doctor is out of the question.
3. Liver failure – moldy and sweet smell
A sweet mold-like smell means that your liver is not working well, or even maybe failing at this moment. Another symptom of this condition is the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. If you notice this, schedule an appointment with a doctor.
2. Lactose intolerance – sour milk smell
A sour milk smell is definitely a sign of a lactose intolerance, meaning your body cannot break down protein in the milk. There will be plenty of other symptoms such diarrhea and cramps.
1. Tonsil stones – smell of a dirty diaper
Tonsil stones is yet another condition connected with bad breath. Patients describe this odor as “dirty diaper” smell. Tonsil stones accumulate in your throat on the tonsils, and one of the ways to treat this condition is a visit to a doctor. He or she will use special medical instruments to get rid of the calcium and bacteria accumulated on your tonsils.
Bonus: Chewing gum doesn’t freshen your breath.
You may believe that chewing gum will help you get rid of bad breath and prevent tooth decay. But according to various studies, it can actually do the opposite. The sugar that chewing gum contains helps the bacteria in your mouth grow and spread even more. Even if you opt for sugar-free gum, bad breath will only be covered, not disposed of – all while giving the smell-inducing bacteria something to munch on. Therefore, the best solution is keeping up good tooth and mouth care.
Now you know that there are eleven different health conditions that can be detected by simply smelling your breath. Share with us what you think about taking your breath as a symptom.
Illustrated by Marat Nugumanov, Anna Syrovatkina for Bright Side