Serious medical conditions that may be associated with bad breath
Halitosis is an unpleasant odour of the mouth. Most of us are very conscious about our breath and how it smells and we go to great lengths to ensure that our breath smells fresh. Others are not so mindful of their breath and are unaware of foul odour their breath is causing. It is not easy to find out the freshness of one’s own breath and it is best to ask someone close to tell you whether your breath smells fine.
There are many reasons, among which the most common is poor dental hygiene. In most of the cases that come to the dental care professionals for bad breath, the culprit is lack of good dental care habits. Among other reasons that causes bad breath are, tobacco, health problems, oral infections and medications.
Bad breath creates social embarrassment for the people in the company of the person having bad breath and not aware of his condition.
Apart from being embarrassing, bad breath can be life threatening. It is symptomatic of many medical conditions some of which are frightening to know about. A breath check by an expert can save your life, because in many cases the normal breath check reveals underlying diseases.
A few medical conditions that can be revealed by bad breath testing include stomach and lung cancers, GERD-gastrointestinal reflux disease- and metabolic diseases.
- Lung Cancer
Usually, laboratories run a series of tests to diagnose lung cancer, but a simple breath test can also reveal the presence of lung cancer. The simple and cheaper non invasive breath tests is an alternative diagnostic tool. A pre-programmed electronic nose is used which detects various profiles of VOCs -volatile organic compounds – in exhaled breath. The possibility of finding lung cancer in smokers is high among people going for breath tests, but even non-smokers also have been identified having lung cancer by these tests.
- Heart Failures
According a paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in their March issue, a simple breath test was used successfully to identify patients suffering from Heart failures.
Each individual has a different breath print, which is unique. The breath print depicts what is going on in the body. That print reveals a lot about the person including what they have been exposed to, and what diseases they may have.
The researchers are calling the breath test a boon for pulmonary diagnostics, because it is simple and non-intrusive. Also because of its simplicity it can be done in a clinic or a hospital.
- Diabetes Complications
When diabetic conditions are not under control, there is more sugar in the blood which makes the gums more susceptible to dry mouth and gum diseases. The weakened body is unable to fight infections in the mouth causing bad breath.
When the breath gives fruity or acetone odour, it is indicative of serious complications in diabetic patients. This condition is called ketoacidosis caused by lack of insulin in the body, making the body use fatty acids which produces ketones as a by-product. Theses acids when accumulated in the body can result in a diabetic coma, or death.
- Kidney Failure
Bad odour breath or Fishy breath does not necessarily come from eating sea food. A breath smelling like ammonia or urine, or fish, may be an indication of kidney failure. As is well known, the kidneys are responsible for taking out toxins, and other chemicals from the blood, and pass them into urine, to be collected in bladder. When kidneys become damaged, they are unable to filter waste products from the blood. In these situations, toxic chemicals remain in the blood and affect all the parts of the body. When the kidney failure affects the respiratory system, the patient produces fishy breath.
- Sleep Apnoea
Saliva production is decreased while sleeping. Lack of saliva encourages bacteria to build up in the mouth and they produce odour.
When you keep your mouth open during sleep for long, the saliva production in the mouth gets affected. People who have sleep disorders like sleep apnoea, have difficulty breathing through their nose, and end up breathing from their moth which causes dry mouth and bad breath.
- Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is wide spread in US. Routine screening for stomach cancer is not very common because it is invasive. But in some countries, other than US, a non-invasive test is being tried and results are promising. Breath test can be used to detect stomach ulcers in a simple non-invasive test which can be done in any clinic or hospital. This breath test technology is called nanoarray analysis. This analysis reveals the levels of certain compounds that are linked to stomach ulcers, and stomach cancers.
- GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease
Acid reflux is one of the digestive conditions which may cause bad breath. Digestive conditions may delay or prevent food from being processed efficiently in the stomach. When food does not keep moving in the digestive tract, it starts to rot. Small amount of undigested food may even come up the food pipe and cause bad breath. When the throat is inflamed and red, it is a sign of GERD.
Apart from GERD, stomach ulcers caused by bacteria ‘H.Pylori’ also causes bad breath.
- Respiratory tract infections: flu, bronchitis, sinusitis
The infections of respiratory tract can cause bad breath too. Infections by bacteria in the respiratory tract break down the tissues and inflame them. This creates mucus which causes bad breath.
Allergies and sinusitis causes the nose to drip which may clog the nose, causing congestion which results in breathing through mouth. When you breathe through mouth, the mouth becomes dry causing bad breath.
Categorised in: Oral Health
This post was written by Letooth