On first glance, bad breath is not something that you should stress so much about. We all have bad breath after eating, sleeping, or visiting the dentist (you know that smell that is just there in your mouth and you cannot get rid of it). In most cases, poor dental hygiene is the cause for bad breath.
However, latest technology has shown that bad breath can be a symptom of more severe diseases and conditions. Detecting them on time is crucial for successful healing.
Here are some conditions that can be detected by bad breath.
This might sound panicking and overestimating, but researchers have found a way to identify heart failure with a simple breath test. The study and the test that goes along with it was published in 2013 by the Journal of American College of Cardiology. For the purpose of the study, the scientists collected breath samples from 41 patients. Out of those 41, 25 were diagnosed with acute decompensated heart failure. And the rest of the patients had other cardiovascular conditions, but none showed signs of heart failure. With a specific technology, the scientists were able to identify exactly which patient had a heart failure, using only his/hers breath sample.
One of the reasons why doctors and scientists always say that routine screening should become a habit is because there are so many “hidden” signals and symptoms our body is sending us. Bad breath is one of those “symptoms” for stomach cancer. A new technology for testing and analyzing breath called nanoarray analysis can identify the levels and the amount of compounds that are linked to stomach cancer. To prove the efficiency of the technology, researchers in Israel looked at breath samples provided by people who were fasting for 12 hours. All of the participants avoided smoking three hours before the test. Out of the 484 people in the study, almost 20%, or 99 of them had stomach cancer diagnosed but had not yet begun treatment. The analysis was able to clearly define the stages of cancer, which scientists believe it will help physicians identify patients with higher risk of stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer is not the only type of cancer that bad breath can point to. Lung cancer is another one. Commonly diagnosed through ultrasound scans and biopsies, lung cancer can also be detected by a breath test. A study in 2013 showed that breath test can be an effective way of diagnosing lung cancer (and cheaper by the way). In the study, a total of 475 patients provided breath samples, which the researchers analyzed. The results showed that lung cancer was accurately and successfully diagnosed even in non-smokers. The scientists made a mistake only in five cases. Out of the 475 patients, 252 were patients with lung cancer and 223 with other lung conditions. A larger amount of the patients were smokers (265).
One of the worst diseases and conditions in the world, diabetes, can easily be diagnosed thanks to a bad breath test. One of the early symptoms of diabetes includes dry mouth and gum disease. And once your immune system is weakened, your weak body cannot fight off bacteria. The result is a fruity breath odor, which can be a way for you to diagnose diabetes while it is the early stages. The fruity odor is often a symptom of ketoacidosis, which is a complication in diabetic patients.
Now, we are not talking about standard bad breath here. Instead, we are talking about fishy breath, one that you normally obtain after consuming seafood and fish. Your mouth smells urine-like, fishy, or something that is very similar to ammonia. What you might not understand and know is that these symptoms can actually point to kidney failure. If you haven’t consumed seafood for a while, and you have a fishy breath, make sure to check your kidneys. When your kidneys are not working properly, toxic chemicals stay in your body. Your kidneys are responsible for removing those toxins from your blood and body by creating urine. When they are damaged, they can no longer filter toxic chemicals from your blood. And since the toxins are not flushed out, they accumulate in several parts of your body, including your mouth.
Flu, sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory infections are often the cause for bad breath. When your respiratory tracts are broke down, the production of bacteria-feeding cells is triggered. Allergies can also trigger the same process as allergies often clog the nose. The result is you are starting to breathe through your mouth, which often results with growth of bacteria and bad breath.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Known shortly as GERD, Gastroesophageal reflux disease is another illness that can be detected by bad breath. Acid reflux is another digestive condition that results with bad breath. What happens when you have one of these two digestive conditions is that the food processing process in your stomach is delayed, or sometimes even prevented. And since the food you consume is not moving and is not being processed through your digestive system, it starts to decay.
I already explained what happens when you breathe through your mouth. Sleep apnea is another condition that causes people to breathe through their mouth. And while morning breath can be a normal thing (there is a reason why dentists recommend washing teeth in the morning), sometimes, it can also cause for concern. Saliva production decreases while we sleep and odor-producing bacteria grow during that time. However, be wary of sleep disorders, as they also cause bad breath.