ZocdocAnswersIs there a medical condition that causes bad breath?

Question

Is there a medical condition that causes bad breath?

This is kind of embarrassing but a friend of mine told me that my breath is always bad. He said he wanted to be a good friend and let me know. I'm glad he did, but I'm wondering if there is a disease that causes this? Is bad breath a medical condition?

Answer

Yes, there are a few medical conditions that can cause bad breath but these are generally rare. Halitosis is the medical term that describes bad breath. It is a very common reason for which people visit the dentist. Most often bad breath is due to the mouth itself, and can differ based on what kinds of foods are eaten, and your personal dental hygiene. Most commonly, the tongue, mouth and gums consist of multiple bacteria that can cause bad breath due to remnants of food, dead skin cells, and the metabolism of these bacteria can give rise to various chemicals causing bad odor. Sometimes, gum disease can also cause intense bad breath and removal of the affected tissue can cause the bad odor to improve considerably. In addition, the nose can also be a source of bad breath. Furthermore, the upper GI tract including the esophagus and stomach can also contribute to bad odor due to food retention or reflux. Medical conditions such as diabetes, liver and kidney disease may also cause bad breath. It is best to make an appointment with a dentist to have a thorough dental examination to rule out whether oral disease is responsible for your symptoms. In the meantime, gently cleaning the tough, eating healthy, gargling, flossing can help reduce bad breath.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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