What does your breath say about your health?
Dragon breath is not always something we can just mask with an extra strength chewing gum and think nothing more of it. In fact, bacteriologist Dr. Katz says that your bad breath can be signalling an underlying health problem…
If your breath smells of morning breath…It could be dry mouth. No one’s mouth smells as fresh as a daisy when they wake up, but if normal brushing doesn’t alleviate the problem, then there might be another underlying cause. Some people suffer from xerostomia, or dry mouth, where the saliva isn’t flowing as it should. A lack of saliva can cause bacteria to build up, leading to bad breath. Unless saliva levels are brought back to normal, the consequences of xerostomia are potentially long term and serious, usually involving tooth decay and gum disease. If you have these, see your GP and make sure you drink plenty of water.
Rotting flesh – tonsillitis
Those with infected tonsils (tonsillitis) can smell of rotting flesh because sulphur producing bacteria breeding deep in infected tonsil crypts can produce the chemical Putrescine. When tonsils are infected and inflamed, it makes it difficult for the anaerobic bacteria at the back of the tongue to break down chemicals as usual. Sulphur-producing bacteria breed deep in the tonsils, and the infected ones can’t break it down. It’s this sulphuric smell that makes the breath smell so bad when someone is suffering from tonsillitis or tonsil stones. In rare cases, this smell could also indicate cirrhosis of the liver.
Mothballs – sinus problem
If you have a sinus problem, those same bacteria can convert the proteins in mucus into the same odour as mothballs. This is because the mucus formed when you have a stuffy nose or congested throat contains very dense proteins. It is these proteins, which are hard for the body to break down, that contain that very distinctive odour.
Fishy smell – liver kidney problems
Rare medical conditions which affect the liver and kidneys may create breath odours similar to fishy smells. Nitrogen is the main culprit when it comes to giving out fishy smells. If your breath has a fishy odour, your kidneys might be to blame, as if your kidneys are not functioning properly, there will be a build-up of nitrogen.
Peardrops – diabetes
Sweet breath smells, such as pears or fruity smells, are signs of diabetes.
Sour milk – high protein diet
If you’re on a high protein diet, beware of the side effect of “sour milk” breath odour. As with diabetes, it’s the ketones that are to blame. As the body has fewer carbs to turn into energy, it begins to burn fat and proteins.
In this instance, the proteins consumed from a no-carb diet produce this unpleasant smell.
Eggs – cirrhosis
Most bad breath odour contains hydrogen sulphide (the rotten egg smell), but it can also be a sign of cirrhosis of the liver.
Poo Poo – bowel blockage
Fecal breath odours may be misinterpreted as bowel blockage, but these clever oral bacteria create the same chemicals as found in feces (methyl mercaptan). Rotting tissue can also mimic the smell of faeces because of the production of chemicals by anaerobic bacteria. The number-one infection in modern humans is infected gums. So the smell of faeces can just as easily come from a lack of flossing as from a blockage in the bowel.