Bad Breath?

Chances are that you could be Diabetic.

Breath odour is the scent of the air you breathe out of your mouth. Unpleasant breath odour is commonly called bad breath orhalitosis; this is something you should not ignore. Those close to you would certainly agree.

Bad breath can originate from the most common causes like, poor dental or oral hygiene, the cook's heavy hand with garlic or an underlying serious health problem?

Regardless, you can take steps to prevent bad breath at home and treat halitosis with the help of your dentist.

Your breath has an interesting ability to provide clues to your overall health.

·   Bad breath related to poor oral hygiene is most common and caused by release of sulphur compounds by bacteria in the mouth

·   Fruity odour in the breath is a sign of ketoacidosis, which may occur in diabetes. It is a potentially life-threatening condition

·   Breath that smells like feces can occur with prolonged vomiting,especially when there is a bowel obstruction

·   Bad breath having an ammonia-like odor (also described as urine-like or"fishy") occurs in people with chronic kidney disease

·   Similarly, a very foul fruit odor may be a sign of anorexia nervosa

·   Other diseases, such as asthma, lung and liver disease also can cause distinct odors on the breath.

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be so intense that doctors may even be able to use it to identify diabetes. Recently, researchers have found that infrared breath analyzers can be effective in identifying if you have pre-diabetes or early-stage diabetes. And researchers are testing a breath analyzer that even measures blood glucose levels. 

What Causes Diabetes Breath?

Diabetes induced halitosis has two main causes:

Gum disease

High levels of ketones in the blood.

Gum Diseases (Periodontitis)

Gum diseases which is also called periodontal disease, include gingivitis, mild to moderate Periodontitis, and advanced Periodontitis. In these diseases, bacteria attack the tissues and bone that support your teeth. This may lead to inflammation that can affect metabolism and increase your blood sugar, which worsens diabetes. 

A person with Diabetes having periodontal disease may be more severely affected and will take longer to heal than in a person without diabetes.

Diabetes and gum disease is like a double-edged sword. While diabetes can lead to periodontal diseases, these diseases can also create further problems for people with diabetes. According to a report in IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences, an estimated one in three people with diabetes will also experience periodontal diseases. 

Heart disease and stroke, which can be complications of diabetes, are also linked to Gum disease.

Diabetes can reduce blood flow throughout your body, including your gums. If your gums and teeth aren’t receiving a proper supply of blood, they may become weak and more prone to infection. Diabetes may also raise glucose levels in your mouth, promoting bacteria growth thereby causing infection, and bad breath. To make matters worse, when your blood sugars are high it becomes hard for the body to fight infection, which makes healing in the area of the gums difficult.

Bad breath is acommonest sign of periodontal disease. Other signs include:

·  Red or tender gums

· Bleeding gums

· Sensitive teeth

· Receding gums


When your body can’t make insulin, your cells don’t receive the glucose they need for fuel. To compensate this, your body burns fat. Burning fat instead of sugar produces ketones, which build up in your blood and urine. Ketones can also be produced when you are fasting or you are on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

High ketones levels often cause bad breath. One of the ketones, acetone (also the chemical found in nail polish) can cause a nail polish-like odor on your breath.

When ketones rise to unsafe levels, you’re at risk of a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Symptoms of DKA include:

·  A sweet and fruity odor on your breath

· More frequent urination than normal

· Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting

· High blood glucose levels

· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· Confusion

DKA is a dangerous condition, mostly limited to people with type 1 diabetes whose blood sugars are uncontrolled. If you have these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

What You Can Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

Along with neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and others, Periodontitis is a common complication of diabetes. 

You can, however, take steps to stave off gum diseases or to lessen their severity.Take control with these daily tips:

The most important step is to try to control blood sugar levels.

 Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily.

· Don’t forget to brush or scrape your tongue, a prime breeding place for foul-smelling bacteria

· Drinking lots of water every single day will flush out toxins from the body and enhance the saliva production, making it a less conducive environment for bacteria to grow

· Use sugar-free mints or gum to stimulate saliva

· Your doctor or dentist may prescribe a medication to stimulate the production of saliva

· It is also advised to avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol as to this will only dry the insides of the mouth causing bad breath

· Visit your dentist regularly and follow treatment recommendations. Make sure the dentist knows you have diabetes

· If you wear dentures, make sure they fit well and change them at regular intervals

· Avoid smoking

ThereforeDiabetes along with Periodontist or gum disease causing bad breath, is a deadly combination if untreated.

However, this will cause no or very little damage to your teeth, gums and body, if you are well informed about the effects and follow good oral hygiene practices regularly.

Visit your dentist for further advice on your specific condition