Causes of halitosis are widely varied and include everything from dry mouth to eating onions. Patients may not realize that certain diseases are responsible for causing bad breath as well. From respiratory tract infections to diabetes, many well-known medical conditions also play a role in causing bad breath. Once you understand the ways that each of these ailments affect the body, it will be easy to pinpoint the cause of halitosis.

1.      Pneumonia

Often thought of as a more serious version of the flu, pneumonia is a potentially lethal disease. Caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, pneumonia spans a vast range of severity. While it may just mean a few days home sick for a healthy adult, to young children or the elderly, pneumonia can be fatal.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

Essentially, pneumonia involves air sacs in the lungs that become inflamed. The air sacs become filled up with phlegm or pus, both of which are odiferous when coughed up. The constant coughing up of phlegm or pus takes a toll on the patient’s breath, ultimately causing halitosis. Other respiratory tract infections that can cause bad breath include bronchitis, sinusitis and even a common cold.

2.      Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a disease characterized by an addition to alcohol, often to the point where it’s detrimental to the patient’s health. The negative effects of alcoholism on the body are many and widely varied. In addition to symptoms that affect every aspect of the sufferer’s life, alcoholism is a common cause of halitosis.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

There are 3 primary ways that alcohol is known to cause halitosis. Each of these causes is summarized below.

Drying Out The Mouth

Excessive consumption of alcohol dries out the mouth and discourages the production of saliva. This creates a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, a leading culprit in causing bad breath.

Digestive System Problems

Problems in the digestive system are notorious for causing bad breath, and alcohol is known to cause such digestive issues. When particles of alcohol end up on the teeth and in the digestive system, the breath is affected, and halitosis ensues.

Absorbed Into Blood Stream

The third way that alcohol affects the breath is by its process of absorption. Rather than digesting like normal food, alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Specifically, alcohol is absorbed by the lining of the stomach and small intestine. This causes damage to the esophagus, often manifesting as acid reflux and heartburn. Each of those conditions contributes to bad breath, proving that alcoholism is one of the worst diseases for halitosis.

3.      Postnasal Drip

Postnasal drip is a condition where an excess amount of mucus compiles in the throat. This leads to symptoms akin to allergies, such as coughing, itchy throat and watery eyes. Postnasal drip can be a cause and a symptom of numerous other ailments, but is an especially nasty condition for asthma sufferers. The mucus can come in several different colors including yellow, white and green. Postnasal drip can also be brought about by minor causes, such as eating excessively spicy food.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

Postnasal drip causes a seemingly unending flow of mucous throughout the throat and mouth. As you might imagine, this flow of mucous combining with the bacteria in the mouth creates a ripe environment for foul odors. To treat postnasal drip on your own, stay well hydrated and consider using a humidifier as you rid your body of mucus.

4.      Kidney Disease

Over 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease. If it’s been awhile since anatomy class, the kidneys are the bean-shaped organs beneath the ribs that play a vital role in filtering blood for the heart and body. While one kidney can be removed without loss of function, both kidneys failing creates a life and death scenario that requires dialysis for survival.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

The kidney’s function is to filter out the various minerals in blood, and send healthy blood back to the heart and body. When the kidneys fail, this filtration can’t happen, so minerals compile within the bloodstream. The result of this buildup of minerals is a metallic taste in the mouth and breath that reeks of ammonia. If you are having trouble urinating, focusing or staying awake, see a doctor because those are all symptoms of kidney disease.

5.      Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease signified by excessive glucose in the bloodstream. This leads to a massive array of complications that can have dire consequences for diabetes suffers. Symptoms of diabetes include extreme hunger, ketones in the urine and weight loss that can’t be explained.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

Diabetes causes breath that has a specific scent that distinguishes itself from other conditions. The breath associated with diabetes is well known for its fruity, sweet scent.

There are 2 distinct ways that diabetes causes halitosis: Periodontal disease and high levels of ketones. Diabetes reduces blood flow to various parts of your body, including the gums. This results in periodontal disease so often that 1 in 3 patients with diabetes will also develop gum disease.

The second way that diabetes causes bad breath is because of the extra ketones it produces. Caused by burning the body’s supply of fat instead of sugar, an excess of ketones can lead to lethal conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis, often known as DKA. Diabetics who live with a surplus of ketones will have the aforementioned fruity breath that characterizes the disease.

6.      Liver Disease

The function of the liver is to regulate the blood sugar of the body. A failing liver means that toxins can flow throughout the body, causing damage to organs along the way. Liver problems are not to be taken lightly since irreparable damage can be done to a variety of organs.

How Does It Cause Halitosis?

Toxins buildup in the bloodstream as a result of liver failure and ammonia is typically among those. This is the cause of the foul-smelling breath that is specific to sufferers of liver disease. If you have any reason to think your liver may not be functioning properly, treat it like the urgent matter that it is and seek medical help soon.

Call Breath Cure With Your Questions About Halitosis Treatment

Bad breath, or halitosis as it’s known in the medical community, is a surprisingly complex problem. With numerous causes, the solutions to bad breath are typically found in its origins. At the Center for Breath Treatment, our knowledgeable doctors and staff strive to help each patient with their unique problems concerning halitosis. Contact us with any questions you have or to make an appointment.