What Your Bad Breath Could Really Mean for Your Health

At our cosmetic dentistry in Roxborough, we regularly hear from patients who want the brightest, healthiest looking smiles possible. Of course, no matter how straight your teeth or brightly your smile shines, frequent bouts of bad breath can seriously undermine your confidence.

Bad breath, or halitosis, affects nearly 50 percent of adults in the U.S. While bad breath usually occurs as the result of what you’ve eaten throughout the day, unwanted aromas can also signal the presence of an underlying health condition. Frequently, bad breath stems from some type of gastric or metabolic issue, but other more serious issues can express themselves by causing your breath to become odorful. Knowing how to tell the difference between bad breath caused by that liverwurst sandwich you had at lunch and bad breath caused by a problem that requires visiting a doctor or our cosmetic dentistry in Roxborough can make all the difference.

Sometimes, you can get a better idea of what’s behind your bad breath by identifying the type of odor the condition is causing. Let’s try to identify and take a look at some of the most common types of smells and what may be behind them.

Bad Breath That Smells a Little Fruity of Sweet

Failure to manage diabetes can lead to a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Among a variety of other symptoms, this condition can also cause your breath to smell a little fruity or sweet.

Occasionally, starting a low carb diet or going through a fast can make your breath taste or smell a little different. Low carb diets cause your body to burn fat cells for fuel. This then leads the body to release a chemical called ketones into your urine and breath. The buildup of ketones can cause changes to occur to how fresh your breath normally feels.

Bad Breath That Smells Fetid or Rotten

An abscess, an infection that causes a buildup of puss, that develops in the mouth or throat, may cause your breath to start smelling like those leftovers you let linger in the trash for several days before taking them to the curb. Oral abscesses can cause serious discomfort and require the attention of a dentist to ensure the infection doesn’t spread to another part of the body. While incredibly rare, untreated oral abscesses can spread to the brain and cause death.

Additionally, bronchiectasis, a condition that causes the bronchial tubes to widen and thicken, can lead to repeated respiratory infections and excess mucus that features a strong fetid odor.

When dentures, orthodontic appliances, and crowns don’t properly fit, food can become lodged between gaps. When food decays, it releases foul smelling odors that can cause your breath to smell far less than its best. Fortunately, better flossing and brushing habits can help to eliminate food buildup and improve your breath.

Bad Breath that Smells Chemical

Carbs provide our bodies with quick fuel to burn. When eating a low carb diet like paleo or keto programs, you start to consume far fewer carbs than normal. This causes the body to burn stores of fat rather than carbs for fuel. This process, called ketosis, can cause the body to produce a chemical called acetone. Acetone is the same chemical found in nail polisher removers.

Bad Breath That Smells Sour

For patient with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the muscle between their stomach and esophagus fails to properly close. As a result, this gap enables the contents of their stomachs to come back up the esophagus, throat, and mouth. The acid reflux the condition causes can result in significant discomfort, but it can also cause an individual’s breath to smell somewhat sour.


If your breath consistently smells less than its best, you need to visit our team at Roxborough Family Dental. Our dentists can help to determine the cause of your bad breath and provide a solution that will help to fix the problem. Don’t let bad breath ruin the confidence you have in your smile.

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