6 Sneaky Reasons Your Breath Stinks

6 Sneaky Reasons Your Breath Stinks

Some of the most common causes of bad breath are the most obvious ones. You know it's time to brush when you've had some particularly garlicky shrimp scampi or you practically breathe fire first thing in the morning.

But there are some surprising causes of bad breath, known to science-y types as halitosis, the product of odor-causing bacteria buildup in your mouth and between your teeth (gross, we know).

Here are some of those sneaky culprits. Makes us want to brush just thinking about it...

It's not that your Rx is causing a stink, but meds carry with them dry mouth as a side effect. Saliva is essential to washing odor-producing particles free, so when there's less of it, odor increases. It's essentially the same reason you get morning breath, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Respiratory Tract Infections
A bout of bronchitis or even a cold might be the cause of that stench. According to a 2006 report, respiratory tract infections cause bad breath thanks to "nasal or sinus secretions" passing into the throat and mouth. Bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections and postnasal drip can all lead to bad breath, WebMD reports.
Mouth Breathing
So you're a mouth breather. Aside from your propensity to drool while you're sleeping, you might find yourself with stinkier than average breath upon waking. That's because, just like with certain medications, breathing through the mouth cuts down on saliva, leading to a drier, smellier mouth.
A 2007 study found that obese people were more likely to have bad breath, but a 2013 study took that link a step further. It turns out that organisms that live in the gut of obese people may give off a certain, distinctive gas, causing bad breath in the mouths of the overweight. The specific microbe in question is present in about 70 percent of people, but higher in about 30 percent, possibly predisposing those folks to obesity, Time.com reported.
Skimping On Carbs
Atkins Diet fans will recognize the word "ketosis". This fat-burning process occurs when the body turns to fats and proteins for energy, since carbs aren't available, Kenneth Burrell, DDS, told WebMD. In this state, however, the body releases certain chemicals into the breath that cause odor -- and this isn't a stink you can brush away, he said. "All the brushing, flossing and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this." Everything in moderation, even carbs.
Underlying Medical Conditions
It might not be the typical "bad" breath you're used to; rather a "potent" fishy smell could signal kidney problems, and whiffs of fruit could be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, US News reported. Certain cancers produce chemicals in the body that may in turn lead to "distinctive breath odor," according to the Mayo Clinic, and chronic heartburn may also contribute to bad breath, since stomach acid is constantly refluxing.
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