Anatomy And Physiology

Anatomy Physiology

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The most common cause of bad breath is simply related to bad oral hygiene. Bacteria are capable of growing in an extremely fast rate inside your mouth. If you do not brush your teeth regularly, these bacteria are able to multiply in a very short time. This can lead to bad breath, medically known as halitosis. Dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, are very often associated with bad breath.

Environmental factors are a common cause of bad breath. Many different types of food are quite capable of producing a foul odor in your breath. Cigarettes, and the use of alcohol are also capable of making a person's breath not particularly pleasant to the nose.

While the above issues may be the most frequent causes of bad breath, there are many other medical conditions related to the development of bad breath.

The common cold

A common cold is a frequent cause of bad breath. It will typically create a musty odor, along with the chronic dry cough. Other symptoms of the common cold include headache, fatigue, and a runny nose. Sinus congestion is frequently seen as well.

Post nasal drip

Post nasal drip is an accumulation of mucus which drains from your sinuses and down the back of your throat. This mucus will accumulate in the back of your throat and is a frequent cause of bad breath. Postnasal drip is most commonly associated with sinus infections and some environmental allergies.


Gingivitis is an inflammation and swelling of the gums. It is a common cause of bad breath. Gingivitis can often cause the gums to bleed quite easily, especially when you brush your teeth. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by that oral hygiene and not flossing regularly.


Bronchiectasis is an infectious disease seen frequently in children. It involves a dilation of the airwaves in the lungs, and it frequently produces a thick foul-smelling sputum. This sputum can often have a quite pungent smell to it, producing bad breath. Other symptoms include a chronic cough which is most active in the morning, as well as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.


There are two types of cancer which had been associated with the development of bad breath. Both cancer of the stomach, and cancer of the esophagus have been associated with bad breath. In both cases these are typically signs that the cancer has developed to a reasonably serious stage. Esophageal cancer will often produce a horse voice, weight loss, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Cancer of the stomach can often be accompanied by nausea, fatigue, weight loss, a change in bowel habits, and heartburn.


Ketoacidosis is a metabolic disorder most commonly seen in type 1 diabetics. It happens when there is an extreme imbalance in glucose metabolism. Your body will produce chemicals known as ketones, which produce an odd smell in your breath. The smell is often referred to as "fruity". Ketoacidosis can also be caused by starvation and excessive alcohol consumption.

Lung abscess

An abscess is a fluid filled sac which has become infected. These can happen in many parts of the body, including the lungs. When an abscess occurs in the lungs, it often produces an extremely foul-smelling odor from the mouth. There is usually a cough which produces large quantities of very bad smelling sputum. An abscess will also cause a fever, shortness of breath, headache, chest pain, and weight loss.


An infection of the sinuses is a common cause of bad breath. This is typically do to postnasal drip, which has been mentioned above. In addition to postnasal drip, a person will often experience a headache, tenderness and pain in the face, a fever, sore throat, congested nose, and a cough.

This is a summary of some of the more common causes of bad breath. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all medical conditions which can cause bad breath. If you are suffering from bad breath frequently and are having a hard time controlling, make an appointment to see either your doctor or a dentist and have it checked out.

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