Dentist reveals: These three mouth odors may indicate serious health issues

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Oct.01 - 2023 8:14 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

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Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common issue, affecting approximately one in four individuals. While it can often be attributed to poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, gum disease, or underlying medical conditions such as respiratory infections or diabetes, its significance should not be underestimated.

Neil Sikka from Bupa Dental Care advises seeking professional advice if persistent bad breath is experienced.

Sweet Breath: A sign of ketoacidosis

Sweet-smelling breath can be a sign of ketoacidosis, a condition that may occur in diabetics. The National Health Service (NHS) describes this scent as similar to “pear drops or nail polish remover.”

Neil Sikka explains that fruity or sweet breath might indicate uncontrolled diabetes, urging individuals who notice this symptom to consult their doctors immediately.

People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing gum disease, and infections can elevate blood sugar levels.

Ammonia-Like Breath: An Indicator of Kidney or Liver Diseases

Ammonia-like breath might be indicative of potentially fatal kidney or liver diseases. Neil warns that breath smelling like ammonia or urine should be taken seriously as it is often associated with advanced, chronic kidney disease.

The National Kidney Foundation echoes this sentiment, highlighting that ammonia breath is a common symptom of severe kidney disease.

Poor oral hygiene has been linked to an increase in liver cancer, and as liver disease progresses, its function gradually deteriorates.

Metallic or Foul Breath: Seek Medical Advice

Breath that has a metallic or foul odor should also raise concerns. Neil advises individuals to visit a healthcare provider if they notice such smells, as these might be signs of underlying medical conditions like digestive issues, respiratory infections, or side effects of certain medications.

If you notice any unusual odor, it is better to be safe and seek medical advice.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential, but it is equally crucial to pay attention to the different smells that your breath might have.

If you notice persistent bad breath or any unusual odors, do not hesitate to seek medical advice as it might be a sign of underlying health problems that require immediate attention.

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