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Some people believe that they have bad breath even though the smell of their breath is completely normal. Others have bad breath and the opposite person may not stand it.

If you are worried because you do not know the reason why halitosis happens to you, the following article can give you an answer.

Dental disease and bad breath

90% of bad breath comes from proteins broken down in your mouth. If you have bad breath caused by oral problems, it usually smells like rotten eggs. This is also a sign of poor oral hygiene.

Rarely, bad breath can carry a strong smell, which can come from the gums or tongue surface. This condition is caused by an imbalance in the mouth or the breakdown of proteins on the gum or tongue tissue.

If your mouth smells bad, the first step you need to do is to go to the dentist for a dental exam and perform a thorough oral hygiene routine every day. However, since body and mouth health are connected, bad breath smells will also tell you about other problems that are happening in your body.

Common types of bad breath

Being able to identify the type of smell in your bad breath will often aid in finding the cause.

Here are the different types of bad breath:

  • A cheesy smell usually indicates your bad breath has a nasal origin.
  • A fruity smell may be a sign of diabetes.
  • A fishy smell may indicate kidney disease.
  • An acidic smell can be a sign of asthma or cystic fibrosis.
  • A scent of ammonia can indicate kidney problems.
  • A musty odor may signal liver cirrhosis.
  • A fecal odor may be a sign of bowel obstruction.

Bad breath is a warning sign of health problems

In addition to understanding and identifying the types of bad breath, you should not ignore 11 types of bad breath caused by many diseases in the body. These include:

1. Bad breath due to tonsil breath

Tonsillitis can be a cause of bad mouth odor. Sometimes bacteria, food debris, dead cells, and mucus can get trapped in the crevices in your tonsils, then accumulate and eventually calcify, forming tonsil stone.

This condition occurs most often in people with chronic tonsillitis or recurrent tonsillitis.

Patients that have post-nasal problems often report coughing up small, white stones. These, along with throat mucus, indicate nasal problems that may cause bad breath.

Symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of voice
  • Halitosis
  • Earache or infection
  • White or yellow pustules.

Remedy and treatment for tonsil stone

  • Untreated: Many cases of tonsil stones without symptoms do not require special treatment.
  • Salt water: Gargle with warm, salty water can help ease the discomfort of tonsillitis.

2. Bad breath due to sinus infection

Bad breath sometimes comes from the growth of bacteria or sinus infections, which are divided into the following two types:

  • Nasal polyps: Nasal polyps are a soft, jelly-like overgrowth of the sinus lining. They can block the airway, leading to sinus infections and bad breath due to run-over post nasal drip.
  • Post-nasal drip syndrome: Your respiratory system makes a lubricant called mucus.  Mucus is a thick, wet substance that moistens your respiratory system and helps trap and destroys bacteria and viruses before they cause infection.

Sinusitis, nasal polyps and post-nasal drip can all cause bad breath as they encourage the build-up of microbes, foreign objects, and metabolites that cause bad breath.

The symptoms of sinus halitosis and nasal polyps will depend on the severity of the condition, which may include:

  • Tired
  • Toothache
  • Trouble breathing when sleeping
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Thick, green or yellow colored mucus from the nose or down the back of the throat

3. Bad breath due to lung infection

If your mouth has an unpleasant odor, it can sometimes come from lung infections and other conditions like bronchitis, lung abscess, tuberculosis, emphysema, and pneumonia.

Types of lung infections include:

  • Influenza 
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Croup
  • Lung cancer often causes noticeable bad breath and it is also considered an indicator of a disease.

In addition, if a respiratory infection shows increased mucus production, it is difficult to identify the cause of bad breath. Unfortunately, apart from handling the source of infection, this type of bad breath has not yet been treated root-and-branch.

4. Bad breath due to digestive diseases

Many people suffer from oral odor which is caused by the digestive system. Any condition that allows air from the stomach to move up into the esophagus and the oral cavity may cause halitosis.  However, bad breath caused by the gut is usually a sign of general imbalance in the digestive system.

Causes may include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease: This condition causes bad breath together with heartburn
  • Flatulence and belching: Any condition that causes you to burp can increase your risk of bad breath, such as irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance or high sugar consumption.
  • Bowel obstruction or constipation: When your body fails to digest food, another side effect that can occur is the strong odor of breath.

5. Bad breath due to the metabolic system

Bad breath caused by metabolism will have the following two causes:

Keto diet, low-carb diet

Following a low-carb or keto diet can force your body to burn fat for energy. This produces chemicals called ketones, which are released in the breath and cause the mouth to smell. However, it only lasts for a short time when your body adjusts to fat metabolism.


If you skip meals or fasting regularly, the amount of saliva in your mouth will be reduced, which makes the mouth dry and prevents the clearance of harmful bacteria that can lead to bad breath.

6. Bad breath due to diabetes

The lack of insulin causes the body to burn fat and produce ketones, resulting in bad breath. Another cause of “diabetics breath” may be chronic kidney failure.

7. Bad breath due to liver disease

Sometimes the problems that the liver is experiencing are the source of your bad breath. Bad breath related to liver disease is usually caused by the following conditions:

  • Liver failure leading to hepatic coma (hepatic brain) is often signaled by a musty smell in the breath when the body tries to excrete by-products from the breakdown of sulfur-containing amino acids. Bad breath due to cirrhosis is described as rotten eggs.
  • Late-stage liver failure can also cause bad breath.

8. Bad breath due to disorder

Fish-odor syndrome is an undiagnosed disorder. It causes a body odor and breath odor that is often described as “fishy”. This genetic disorder affects choline's ability to break down, leading to a buildup of trimethylamine that cause a fishy odor.

The fishy odor is excreted via sweat, urine, saliva, blood, and air exhaled through the mouth or nostrils. Patients with fishy odor may need to eliminate or reduce their intake of choline-rich foods such as broccoli, beans, eggs, kidneys, and liver.

9. Bad breath due to the menstruation

Many studies have reported that bad breath in women tended to increase before and during their menstruation. During menstruation, the odor of women's breath is stronger than that of men, although the oral bacteria levels were the same in both genders.

Women had lower saliva level during menstruation, which may account for their bad breath. The good news is that this condition is gradually decreasing due to hormonal changes.

10. Bad breath due to medication

Many medications with side effects that can dry your mouth can also cause your mouth to smell. These are medications that treat:

  • Acne
  • Allergy
  • Anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Epileptic
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Urinary incontinence.

If you are taking any medications and have bad breath, talk to your doctor or dentist. Try to avoid diuretic drinks like coffee that can make your dry mouth worse.

11. Bad breath due to... fear of bad breath

fear of bad breath

Although most of us are more or less concerned with the smell of our breath, the fear of bad breath can even become an obsession to some people. Although halitophobia (fear of having halitosis) is not common, (affects about 1% of adults), but there is a risk of serious problems.

Dentists have estimated that up to 25% of people who come to them with halitosis are afflicted with halitophobia. If left untreated, the disease can greatly affect your life and confidence, causing psychological problems such as:

  • Social anxiety
  • Excessive teeth brushing
  • Constant gum chewing
  • Anxiety about being close to others
  • Refuse to eat certain foods
  • Fear of speaking (in extreme cases, not speaking at all).

Home remedies for bad breath 

To effectively treat halitosis, in addition to visiting a dentist at reputable clinics, you can consider implementing the following suggested measures:

1. Maintain good oral hygiene

According to dental experts, poor oral hygiene habits can build up plaque, which is the most common cause of bad breath. Therefore, you should brush your teeth at least 2 times per day, in 2 minutes each time.

Besides, you should use a toothpick or dental floss to remove any food debris left between your teeth gap after each meal. Last but not least, use a brush or a tongue scraper to prevent bacteria from growing.

2. Eat parsley

Parsley is considered as a popular remedy for halitosis because of its aroma and high chlorophyll content which can deodorize. To help treat bad breath, chew on fresh parsley after every meal.

3. Pineapple juice

Pineapple juice is not only delicious, but is also deemed as one of the fastest and most effective bad breath remedies.

Drinking a glass of pure pineapple juice after every meal or pecking at a pineapple slice for 1-2 minutes will help you somewhat treat the bad breath. After eating fruit or drinking juice, you should rinse your mouth with water to eliminate the amount of sugar left on your teeth.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt contains many healthy bacteria called lactobacillus. They help fight off bad bacteria in various parts of the body, such as the intestines.

Studies show that eating a non-fat whole yogurt diet will also help reduce bad breath within 6 weeks.

5. Green tea

Green tea is an effective remedy for halitosis. Experts show that green tea has antiseptic and deodorizing properties that can bring a temporary cooling effect. Peppermint also has the same effect, so a cup of peppermint tea would be an ideal drink to sip in your spare time.



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