Bad Breath Could Signal A Serious Health Problem

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Most people know that eating garlic, onions, and other strong foods can cause bad breath. This can typically be corrected with breath mints, sugarless gum, or ideally, a good brushing.

But when bad breath persists, and brushing and mouthwash don’t seem to help, this could signal a health problem. Although it can be embarrassing, talk with your physician if you have chronic halitosis (bad breath) so the issue can be addressed.

At MedCenter TMJ, we strive to help each of our patients with craniomandibular problems, but we also want you to be in good overall health. With that in mind, take a look at some of the health problems that can cause persistent bad breath.


Diabetes can affect blood flow throughout your body, including your gums. This can lead to bad breath and gum problems. In addition, a serious complication of diabetes known as ketoacidosis can cause an unusual fruity odor on the breath. To help avoid these problems, keep your blood sugar under good control with the help of your physician, don’t smoke, and see your dentist regularly for checkups.

Lung problems and Bronchitis

Bronchitis causes inflammation and increased mucus in the lungs, which is often accompanied by sinus problems and post nasal drip. Together, these factors can cause a foul odor.

Kidney Disease

When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it can cause a buildup of waste products in the body. This can cause an ammonia-like odor on the breath or bad taste in the mouth.

Liver Problems 

Late-stage liver disease can cause a musty odor on the breath.

Allergies and/or Sinus Conditions

Chronic dripping of nasal secretions into the back of the throat is a common cause of bad breath. This can be a result of a sinus infection or allergies. Bacteria often stick to the back of the tongue, where it’s difficult to remove.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)  

People who suffer from GERD or acid reflux often have low-level regurgitation of food up into the throat, which can cause an odor. In addition, food moving too slowly through the stomach, common with acid reflux, can cause bad breath.

Gum Disease 

Regular checkups with your dentist can help identify and prevent gum disease, which often includes red, swollen, or bleeding gums. It can also cause bad breath in many people.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications and health conditions – and it is not normal. See your dentist to identify the cause and get proper treatment. A number of products can be used to help alleviate the discomfort, but the underlying cause must be found first.

Abscess Tooth 

If a tooth has an infection known as an abscess, this can give off a foul odor. The infection can spread to the jaw bone and surrounding tissues. If you have pain or swelling in your mouth, especially with a fever, call your dentist right away.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

If you have a bad breath problem that doesn’t go away, it’s time to see your physician. Many of the problems listed above can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated. Your mouth is an important indicator of your overall health, so listen to what it’s trying to tell you.

If you are experiencing orofacial pain or craniomandibular problems, our staff at MedCenter TMJ in Houston can help. Call us at 713-790-0531 or request an appointment online.

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