‘Bad breath’ could be a sign of three major illnesses 

The smell of someone’s breath can tell a lot about their health. Usually, bad breath results from poor oral hygiene, which has caused bacteria to build up in the mouth. 

There are times, however, when bad smells are caused by poor intestinal health. Some odours may imply an underlying malignancy that requires further investigation, according to experts.

Is it really just bad breath?

Experts have devised a simple test you can do that will reveal whether your breath is a bit unpleasant [1]. This can be done by licking the inside of your wrist and smelling – a crucial determiner, according to Oral Health Foundation specialists [2].

It is pretty likely that you have bad breath if it smells bad. A variety of causes of bad breath are listed by the NHS, including eating or drinking food or drinks with strong-smelling or spicy flavours. [3].

It is also possible for you to suffer from the condition if you have gum or tooth problems. Among these issues are gum disease, tooth decay or infections.

There is also evidence that crash dieting, smoking and certain medical conditions like tonsillitis, acid reflux and dry mouth may affect oral health. Maintaining a clean mouth, tongue, and teeth is the best way to avoid bad breath, according to NHS doctors.

Listed below are eight things you can do to eliminate the odour [4]:

  • Take two minutes to brush your teeth and gums twice a day
  • Make sure you use a fluoride-containing toothpaste
  • Using a tongue scraper or cleaner, gently clean your tongue once a day
  • Floss or use an interdental brush every day to clean between your teeth
  • Ensure you have regular dental checkups
  • Dentures should be kept clean and removed at night
  • Chew sugar-free gum or mints after eating or drinking foods with a strong smell
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste to prevent bacteria from growing.

Smoking can cause bad breath and make the smell worse, according to the NHS. Additionally, medics recommend not rinsing your mouth with water right after brushing your teeth, and you should avoid brushing so hard that your gums bleed after brushing. They added you should also stay away from having lots of sugary foods and drinks.

When to see your doctor?

Odours associated with bad breath vary widely based on their underlying causes, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most frequent cause of dry mouth is medical conditions such as tonsillitis and acid reflux [5].

The stomach acids can also travel up the digestive tract as a result of complications like gastroesophageal reflux disease. A body with failing kidneys and a compromised respiratory system may produce fish-breath odor.

This could mean the body struggles to flush dangerous toxins accumulating in several body parts. According to Bill McKenna, Cognomovement’s founder, halitosis, or bad breath, is a common issue [6].

“Bad breath may indicate an underlying medical condition, such as cancer. While not all bad breath is brought on by cancer, some smells in the breath should be taken seriously.

“The expert explained that metallic smells may signal lung cancer or other varieties of cancer that have migrated to the lungs when it comes to cancer. A mouldy smell may indicate lung or throat cancer, while a musty odour can indicate liver or kidney cancer [7]. Bad breath can have a variety of causes, and “not all of them are cancer-related,” McKenna said.

It is necessary to see a healthcare professional if you are concerned about bad breath. “When cancer produces bad breath, the smell is often linked to high levels of polyamides within the cells.”

When to see your doctor?

The canine nose may be able to detect specific smells associated with cancer-specific chemicals circulating throughout the body, according to some studies. Other studies have explored the possibility that breath could hint at other conditions, and it transpires that breath may also be related to heart failure [7].

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2013 showing that breath tests can identify heart failure patients. Bad breath and heart disease are linked by gum disease, which can cause inflammation throughout the body [8]. This is why researchers often find a strong correlation between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease because bacteria can enter your bloodstream through bleeding or diseased gums, leading to inflammation, clogged arteries and stroke.

[1] https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/21009233/diy-test-stroke/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442830/
[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/
[4] https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/21056271/simple-test-really-have-bad-breath-tips-combat/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534859/
[6] https://www.cognomovement.com/
[7] https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1721013/bad-breath-causes-cancer-kidney-failure
[8] https://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-simple-heart-failure.html

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