What Does Your Bad Breath Say About You?

Do you find yourself always battling bad breath? If you follow the recommended dental hygiene routine of brushing twice daily, flossing regularly and using a mouthrinse but still experience halitosis, there may be a bigger issue at play. Many people actually experience this issue. It seems that no matter what they do, they just can’t get rid of their stinky breath. According to a recent Fox News article, poor oral hygiene isn’t the most common cause of bad breath. Harold Katz, DDS, bacteriologist, and founder of the California Breath Clinics, claims that the most chronic bad breath is actually due to dry mouth.

“When you sleep at night there’s little or no saliva production. That’s what causes dryness and morning breath,” Katz said.

If morning breath is your only case of bad breath on a daily basis, you don’t really have anything to worry about. But a lot of people experience the same sort of bad odor associated with dry mouth all day long, and there are a number of issues that could be causing it, including medication.

“Seventy-five percent of prescription drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and blood pressure drugs, have dry mouth as a side effect,” Katz stated.

Sipping more water, chewing sugarless gum, or even switching the type of medication you take (if possible) might help your cause, but if not your bad breath could be pointing at another issue in your body.  Surprising as it might seem, the specific scent of your breath has been found to give clues about what’s wrong. For example, if your breath smells like…

  • Mothballs, you might have allergies, post-nasal drip, or a sinus infection. Chronic sinus issues can cause the bacteria in your mouth to convert proteins in mucus into a skatole, the compound responsible for the scent. Taking an allergy medications, using a neti pot, or starting an antibiotic should help.
  • Fruity, you might have diabetes. Sugar that enters your bloodstream typically makes its way into your cells to be used as energy. When that doesn’t happen, blood sugar rises and cells burn fat for energy. The byproduct of this process is ketones, which can make your breath smell fruity.
  • Sour milk, you might be lactose intolerant. If you’re not breaking down the protein in dairy correctly, your breath can take on a sour milk scent. Of course there will be other symptoms as well, like diarrhea, cramps, and gas after indulging in milk products.
  • A dirty diaper, you might have a tonsil stone. This occurs when bacteria and debris get stuck in your tonsils. Your physician should be able to remove the visible “stone” using swab or forceps.
  • Something’s rotten, you might have a lung disease. A very foul odor that is much worse than traditional bad breath could be a sign of a lung problem. The issue could be an infection, like pneumonia, or something more serious, such as concer. Currently, researchers are working on developing a breath test designed to identify the odors associated with cancer.

Clearly, your breath can say a lot about your health. If your chronic halitosis doesn’t subside after following a recommended dental hygiene routine and alleviating dry mouth, consult with your physician or dentist as soon as possible.

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