Different Types of Bad Breath and Their Causes

Written by Nancy


Bad breath, halitosis, is a medical condition that almost 50 million people suffer from in the US. It’s often caused by underlying oral problems and dental conditions like cavities and tooth decay.

Research also shows a relationship between bad breath and general body health. By smelling your breath, the dentist can identify the problem that may exist elsewhere in your body.

Let’s take a look the different types of halitosis (bad breath) caused by diseases in your body.

Tonsil Breath

Tonsillitis is a medical condition where the gland tissues at the back of the throat become infected and cause bad breath.

Tonsils are caused by bacteria and viruses that lead to a sore throat, swollen lymph glands under the jaw, earache, headache, loss of voice, yellow spots of pus on tonsils and high fever.

People who suffer from sinus issues may have repeated episodes of swollen tonsils where they cough up white mucus stones that cause their breath to smell bad.

Visit an ENT specialist if you’re suffering from these symptoms. They’ll recommend some tests and offer a treatment plan with antibiotic medications.

Sinus Breath

The inflammation of your nasal passage causes sinusitis which leads to infection and bacteria buildup. The nasal congestion can last anywhere between a week and more. If you’re suffering from acute sinuses where it comes and goes all year round, the quality of your life is negatively affected.

Symptoms of the nasal infection include thick yellow-green colored mucus in the nose and mouth which causes bad breath. Nasal passage becomes blocked and you lose sense of taste and smell. Fever, sore throat, facial congestion, headache, toothache, and the sleep apnea may cause mouth breathing.

Visit an ENT specialist to clear your sinus. Gargle with warm salt water and steam to open blocked nose.

Lung Breath

Lung infections and conditions such as bronchitis, pulmonary abscess, tuberculosis, emphysema, and pneumonia cause your breath to smell rank. The increased mucus production leads to mouth odors.

Gut Breath

An imbalance of the digestive system causes bad breath where the stomach gases move up the esophagus and oral cavity.

Metabolic Breath

A low-carb diet might result in bad breath as the body fat is burned producing the ketone chemical. A fruity-nut-like smell from the mouth is a short-term problem which disappears as your body adjusts to fat metabolism.

Diabetes Breath

The inadequate production of insulin in the body causes a sweet smelling mouth odor. Diabetic patients might notice a constant dry mouth and a bad breath which signals a fluctuation in blood sugar.

Drug Breath

Most of the medications prescribed by your doctor might cause a decrease in saliva production which leads to dry mouth and bad breath. Drugs used for depression, anxiety, allergies, and hypertension are the main culprits of dry mouth and mouth odors.

Trimethylaminuria Breath

TMAU, also known as a fish-odor syndrome, is a rare disorder that affects 1% of the US population. It may go unnoticed and undetected as the medical condition causes rotten fishy smell excreted via sweat, urine, saliva, blood, and exhaled through the mouth and nostrils.

If the mouth odor remains even after you’ve brushed your teeth, flossed, and used a mouthwash, you might be suffering from an underlying dental condition.

It’s imperative that you visit your doctor if you suffer from a consistent bad breath. Seek medical advice from a professional dentist in Woodland Hills, CA.


West Hills Smiles has some of the best, experienced dentists that provide dental solutions using advanced technology at their high-end facility.

Besides offering general dentistry, the dental clinic also offers cosmetic dentistry treatments including porcelain veneers and teeth whitening.

Contact them at (818) 346-4303 for family-friendly dental services!

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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