Bad Breath Can Be A Sign Of A Problem


Bad breath, also known as halitosis is defined as a breath that has a bad or unpleasant odor and most often, it is caused due to poor oral hygiene as it leads to the release of sulphur compounds by bacteria in the mouth. Bad breath can have a significant negative impact, both personally and socially as it can cause social restraint. Poor oral hygiene allows the food particles to collect on the surface of the tongue, between the teeth and along the gum tissues. Over time these food particles rot and cause bacterias which release chemicals which have a strong odor.

 Bad Breath Can Be A Sign Of A Problem

Diet can also be a culprit of bad breath and foods such as onion can garlic has a capability to foul the breath or dietary habits such as starvation can cause blood borne or transient bad breath. Some other factors that can contribute to bad breath include:

  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Alcohol
  • Snoring
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Inadequate water intake

Bad breath can also be caused by a decreased flow of saliva, which is an important part of the digestive and remove odor-causing particles from the mouth. Sometimes certain medical conditions can also cause bad breath and some of the disease that contributes to bad breath are as follows:

1. Periodontal disease

Multiple studies have confirmed that most often, bad breath originates from the oral cavity and periodontal disease which is also known as gum disease can be one of the causes of bad breath. It is an inflammatory condition and a major cause of tooth loss in adults. It begins with an infection in the gums but as it progresses it can move into bones and ligaments that support teeth. An interaction between the bacteria found in the plaque and the body’s response to that bacteria is the major cause of periodontal disease.

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When the plaque is not removed from the teeth regularly, it leads to the formation of tartar that irritates the gums and contributes to the formation of more plaque. The bacterias in the plaque cause inflammation and damage to the gums.

Patients having periodontal disease often complain of bad breath and several studies have investigated a possible relationship between periodontal disease and bad breath. Researchers found out that the morphology of periodontal disease can create an idle environment for sulfur-producing bacteria.

2. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an infection of tonsils. It is an inflammatory condition of the pharyngeal tonsils and the inflammation usually extends to the adenoid and the lingual tonsils. Tonsils are the part of the immune system which plays a central role in protecting the body against bacterias, virus and other foreign invaders. A virus is the most cause of tonsillitis, which is often preceded by a cough, runny nose, and sore eyes. Sometimes, it can also be caused by bacterias. Some of the common symptoms that develop in patients having tonsillitis are as follows:

  • A sore throat
  • Pain in swallowing
  • A loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Swollen neck
  • A change in the sound
  • Bad breath

Certain studies suggest that a bad breath can be a sign of tonsillitis. Bad breath can originate in the tonsils and causes foul breath.

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal disease, also known as GERD is a common disorder and is characterized by an involuntary movement of gastric contents to the esophagus. In other terms, it is a chronic disease which occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back into the food. It is associated with various complications and hence, carries a risk of significant morbidity and potential mortality. Most often, it results from the faulty muscle valve or lower esophageal sphincter and its failure to close properly.

There are the various possible mechanism that can make gastroesophageal reflux disease a cause of bad breath. A direct damage to the oropharyngeal mucosa due to the gastroesophageal refluxate id one of the mechanism. It spills across the upper esophageal sphincter and into the oral cavity. Gastric refluxate can cause an injury to the oropharyngeal mucosa which can result in an inflammation. Multiple studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disease and the occurrence of bad breath. Almost every study have stated that there is a strong relationship between the two problems and patients having gastroesophageal reflux disease often complain of bad breath.


Trimethylaminuria, also known as fish odor syndrome is a rare metabolic disorder which is characterized by the excretion in the urine of relatively large amounts of the volatile tertiary amine, trimethylamine. Trimethylamine smells like a rotten fish and this chemical is excreted in sweat and urine owing to a deficiency in the enzyme flavin monooxygenase 3. This disorder is not associated with symptoms other than an unpleasant odor that can result in some serious health problems. Trimethylaminuria is a congenital disorder but it can also be acquired, resulting from liver injuries, primarily related to viral hepatitis.




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