February 13, 2020

What Causes Bad Breath?

bad breath

Dear Dr. Manny,

Why do I have bad breath all the time? I keep brushing my teeth and its not getting rid of the smell. How do I fix it?

Everybody gets bad breath, either in the morning
or after a garlicky meal. It’s normal. But if it doesn’t go away, then it may
be chronic. Chronic halitosis might be an indication of something more
serious. 

Bad breath might mean you have a bad respiratory
infection, either in your sinus or in your throat. You’ll know if you have
trouble breathing, buildups of mucus, and a fever. 

Diabetes might be another cause. Doctors linked
an acidic odor to something called ketoacidosis, where the body excretes
offensive smelling ketones. This is caused by a lack of insulin, and can lead
to death. 

If you’re overweight, you might also have bad
breath. Diets high in dairy and protein can lead to excessive amino acids,
which can lead to bacteria growth. 

Dry mouth can also cause bad breath. One of the
causes of dry mouth is a heavy drinking habit. Alcohol dehydrates you and makes
your mouth susceptible to bacteria. Sleep apnea, or snoring, is another cause.
This impedes the production of saliva. 

Acid reflux and GERD can cause foods to begin
decaying in the gut, which brings an offensive odor along with it. 

Stomach ulcers are caused by the same bacteria
that cause chronic halitosis. 

A fishy smell in your breath can come from a
kidney or renal disease. If the kidneys are not properly removing toxins from
your body, the smell might get into your breath.  

Lung cancer might also be the cause. In fact,
doctors rely on bad breath to help them diagnose lung cancer. Breath samples
can also diagnose heart conditions. 

Aside from brushing and flossing more often, consider
changing your diet in order to help combat bad breath. Scrape your tongue, use
mouthwash, keep your gums healthy. Don’t eat candy to stop the bad breath, but
chew gum. Stop your bad habits. Stop smoking. You might not make enough saliva,
so make sure you keep your mouth moist to encourage a better production of
saliva. 

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