What Your Breath Says About Your Health

Jose from California Writes:

My wife has been telling me recently that my breath smells like fruit. I have included more fruits and vegetables into my diet recently. Is this what could be causing the fruity breath?

Dear Jose,

Way to go! Glad you are eating more fruits and vegetables. The fruity breath could be of a concern. Sometimes halitosis (bad breath) could be a sign of something else occurring in the body. Poor dental hygiene is the typical cause for the odor; however, any scent from the breath could be a sign of something more serious. There are now clinical ways to examine what the breath may actually be telling us about our health. Here are some basic signs to look for outside of not using the toothbrush and floss!

1.Lung Cancer
The odorless one. Breath tests are now becoming a standard in detecting lung cancer. Even with no particular odor, a new “electronic nose” can be used for early detection.

2.Acetone Breath
Commonly called fruity breath can be a serious condition known as ketoacidosis. This occurs typically with patients that have diabetes. The body begins to use fatty acids for energy and the fruity breath is the result.

3.Renal Disease
When the kidneys are struggling someone might be told they have a fishy-type of breath. This is due to the excess build up of ammonia from the urine. The kidneys become so damaged that they are unable to filter all the waste out of the blood. 

4.Sleep Apnea
Your spouse is snoring link a freight train. You are so in love that you lean over to kiss them and their breath smells like a sour apple? Think sleep apnea. The lack of saliva production can cause this. Consider having them get a sleep study from their primary care physician.

Also known as GERD (Gastroesophogeal reflux disease). This is when food doesn’t move effectively through the digestive tract. The food can slow so much that it starts to decay and putrefy. This foul-smell is a tell tale sign that you are not digesting well. Also look for consistent burping and flatulence.

6. Respiratory Infections
A leading cause of foul breath. Typically the mucous and drainage will cause this. This should resolve after the infection has cleared.

Poor dental hygiene is the number one cause of bad breath. Regular visits to your dentist will help. Daily hygiene is important to include gentle brushing and flossing. If the tooth enamel begins to decay, then food particles can lodge in the small dental caries. This is a consistent way to increase halitosis.