Contrary to what a lot of people might think, dental health is a primary indicator of what’s going on inside your body. From gastrointestinal functions to your mental and physical well-being, the state of your teeth, gums and even the smell of your breath can speak volumes. What you may not know is that there are actually many different types of bad breath smells, also known as halitosis and they can all be symptoms of different physiological dysfunctions or diseases. If you’re worried about the smell of your breath and whether what you’re experiencing is normal, then you should speak to your dentist immediately to address your concerns.
What Is Halitosis?
By definition, halitosis is just bad breath and it can be caused by a number of factors. Typically, we tend to experience bad breath in the morning (also known as morning breath) or after consuming a particularly strong-tasting meal like anything containing garlic, onions, certain types of fish, or spicy foods.
What causes those unpleasant odours to linger for long amounts of time? The answer is bacteria. Food and beverage-borne bacteria thrive in a dry atmosphere which is often created by dehydration or insufficient saliva production in your mouth. This usually happens while you’re sleeping at night—a time when saliva production either slows down or comes to a complete halt, which explains why a lot of people get morning breath.
Since saliva helps break down food particles and makes it easier for you to swallow them without choking, a lack of saliva can lead to dry mouth and other conditions, which bacteria thrive in and this can cause certain forms of halitosis. Simply put, halitosis can sometimes be a symptom of physiological dysfunctions and diseases.
Types of Bad Breath and Their Causes
We’ve compiled a short list of some diseases and disorders that have been linked to bad breath. If you suffer from chronic bad breath and believe that anything other than poor oral hygiene could be the culprit, it’s imperative that you address this concern with your doctor or dentist during your next visit.
1.Rotten Smelling Breath
There are a few key reasons your breath may exude a chronically toxic or rotten odour. Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common culprits. Failing to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day can leave food particles lingering in your mouth. Bacteria thrive on these lingering food particles and eventually the sugars that are left behind will erode your teeth, causing cavities. Untreated cavities can also have a distinctive odour as they create a breeding ground for bacteria. Additionally, rotten smelling bad breath can come from your stomach. If you eat foods that don’t sit well with your gut or if you are having digestive issues, then your stomach could expel some acids and send them back up the esophageal tract, causing an unpleasant odour in your mouth.
2.Fruity Smelling Breath
Even though fruity smelling breath might sound like a good thing, if you haven’t eaten fruit recently, then you might want to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Fruity smelling breath is often a symptom of diabetes. When your body doesn’t process sugars from your food intake properly, it’s released into your bloodstream which leads to a high blood sugar level. For type one diabetics in particular, this can be a serious condition.
3.Fishy Smelling Breath
If you’re breath smells like bad fish all the time, then you may have a condition known as trimethylaminuria, which is also known as fish odour syndrome and fish malodor syndrome. Basically, this is a metabolic condition in which the normal production of the flavin-containing enzyme known as monooxygenase 3 is defective. The odour isn’t just relegated to your breath; it can also be present in your urine, perspiration, and your reproductive fluids as well. The intensity of the odour varies from one person to another. While there’s no cure for this condition, the symptoms are treatable through a few simple lifestyle changes.
4.Musty Smelling Breath
Liver disease, also known as fetor hepaticus, usually results in a sweet and musty smell. Dimethyl sulfide buildup in the liver reduces its functionality and prevents it from filtering the blood that comes from the digestive tract, detoxifying chemicals, and metabolizing drugs. Toxins that remain in the bloodstream and food particles you ingest will be delivered to other parts of the body, which can lead to other serious conditions or infections.
5.Cheesy Smelling Breath
Unusually cheesy smelling breath could be a sign that you have a sinus infection or postnasal drip. While this isn’t necessarily a life threatening condition, it can be very uncomfortable. In rare cases a postnasal drip could be related to nasal cancer, paranasal sinuses, or nasopharynx cancer. It could also be a sign that you’re suffering from allergies.
Sometimes, stinky breath can be caused by dehydration or dry mouth. Dehydration and dry mouth can be symptoms or side effects of a variety of health problems or even medications used to treat those health problems. Your best bet for combatting bad breath caused by dehydration or dry mouth is to drink more water, try chewing sugar-free gum, or talk to your doctor about changing your medication to something that doesn’t cause halitosis.
At Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke, we strive to provide our patients with the best possible solutions to treat their symptoms. Our experienced and dedicated staff has a wealth of knowledge and is capable of addressing all of your oral health-related concerns and answering your questions. To learn more about the causes of halitosis and how it can effectively be treated, schedule an appointment at our dental clinic today!