Bad Breath: Possible Reasons and What to Do

Bad Breath

Do you know that the smell of your breath can give you information about the condition of your oral health and also the health of other organs? Bad breath, or in medical terms called halitosis, is a health condition where you have an oral odor. It’s an oral health problem that affects about 25 percent of the population. 

Everyone may have bad breath at some point. For example, it can be in the morning when you just woke up from your night’s sleep. Or after you eat pungent-smelling foods like garlic and onion. But those bad breaths are the kind of smell that is not related to health problems. After a while, the garlic smell will go once all the food particles leave your bloodstream.

And then, there is bad breath due to a health condition. It is either an oral health problem in the other part of the body or a combination of both. You must address the health issue triggering mouth odor to stop the bad breath. Bad breath usually leads to low self-esteem, stress, and anxiety. But more importantly, an unpleasant smell from your mouth can also signify that you need treatment for certain oral diseases or other body parts.



What does the smell of your breath mean?

Is it normal for breath to smell?

What causes strong-smelling breath?


What does the smell of your breath mean?

There are various smells of breath, each of which can tell you where the source of the problem comes from. For instance, oral health issues are usually causing bad breath that smells like rotten eggs. On the other hand, a fishy smell can indicate a problem in the kidney. The fishy smell increases the urea level when the kidney has a disease. 


When it is difficult to differentiate the smell of one breath odor from the other, you might need an exam from a dentist or doctor. The dentist will observe the type of smell and identify the potential source of problems. The following are some types of bad breath that can be associated with certain diseases:


  • Diabetes.

The lack of production of insulin makes people with diabetes create ketones. This condition leads diabetics’ bodies to release it through breath, known as keto breath.

  • Lung disease.

Tuberculosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis are among the lung infections that can result in bad breath. Checking the smell of breath is also used to detect many lung diseases.

  • Liver.

Liver failure is also one of the causes of halitosis. Thus, bad breath is used as an indicator to detect problems in the liver’s health. The smell of the breath of people suffering from liver diseases is like decayed blood.

  • Sinus.

The nasal sinus can get inflamed by infections. The inflammation of the nasal sinus is called sinusitis. Sinusitis affects the nose by disrupting the breathing system and can cause bad breath as one of the effects.

  • Tonsil.

Tonsils are located in the back of the throat, playing their part in the body’s immune system to fight against harmful bacteria in the mouth. If tonsils get infected, tonsils can create tonsil stones called tonsillitis. Bad breath commonly becomes one of the effects of tonsillitis.


Is it normal for breath to smell?

There is a high chance that you are aware that you have bad breath at some point. You might also notice an unpleasant smell of breath now and then. Temporary bad breath is normal for everyone to experience. It does cause discomfort and reduce your confidence. But don’t let it make you worry. 


Try to check the smell of your breath by licking your wrist, letting your saliva dry for a moment, and sniffing the scent. Remember that even if you practice good oral hygiene already, it doesn’t mean your breath will have no smell at all. Saliva in a healthy mouth still has its unique and typical smell. But in general, the smell from the mouth of good oral health is not strong or bothers you.


Consider checking with a professional if you think the smell of your breath is unpleasant and might indicate that there is an oral disease causing it. Smelly breath is disturbing, and making your breath fresh again is important. But curing the problems causing it is even more critical, as bad breath is an indicator for you to be aware that there is a problem with oral health or your health in general.


What causes strong-smelling breath?

There are many sources of problems that can make your breath smell terrible. Some candies and mouth fresheners might help temporarily. But bad breath will not disappear until you know the causes and the problems are treated. Most halitosis cases are just symptoms of mild oral health issues. Bad breaths caused by temporary triggers are common and can be treated relatively easily. Of the many causes of bad breath found, including:


  • Poor oral hygiene

Without proper oral hygiene practice, tooth decay and gum diseases can appear. Oral diseases mostly are infections from bacteria which lead to bad breath odor.

  • Dry mouth.

An insufficient amount of saliva in the mouth can happen for several reasons. A dry mouth will help bacteria build up in the teeth and gum lines, resulting in bad breath. 

  • Smoking.

Smell from smoking will stay for a while and give an unpleasant smell to your breath. Smoking also dries your mouth, which also triggers bad breath.

  • Non-oral diseases.

As explained above, certain diseases change the smell of breath and come out to be able to indicate illness in the body.



Most people commonly experience bad breath and it is essential to always maintain oral health. Bad breath can quickly come from the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, much less oral diseases.

Schedule a dental checkup at Eastman Dental when you notice that you have persistent bad breath. Eastman Dental provides a thorough observation in our dental exam. Regular dental checkups allow the dentist to detect any issues such as gum disease or dry mouth and prevent them from becoming more severe.