What Causes Common Types of Bad Breath Smells?

rotten tooth smell

A bad breath condition, sometimes referred to as Halitosis is the cause of nearly 50% of the population in general. The majority of the time it’s due to something inside your throat or mouth. In some instances there are medical conditions that may cause a certain oral odor.

rotten tooth smell

Since bad breath may be a sign of an issue with your health It’s essential to recognize whether it’s just an inconvenience and when you should consult a dental or medical specialist.

Sometimes, the nature of odor may help determine the root of the issue.

Common kinds of bad breath

The smell of bad breath could be the result of problems in your digestive tract or mouth or metabolic processes happening in your body.

Let’s review of some popular bad breath smells and their potential cause.

Breath that is fruity or sweet

Untreated diabetes can cause a serious health issue known as ketoacidosis diabetic. Along with other symptoms the condition can cause the breath of your child to smell fruity or sweet.

Diets with low carbs and fasting may also make your breath smell or taste distinct. Some call it metallic. Some people say that the scent is sweet.

Diets that are low in carbs cause the body to burn fat to fuel, leading in the release of chemical known as ketones that are present in your urine and breath. The buildup of ketones could alter the smell of your breath.

Breath that smells foul or an unpleasant fetid (like trash or even death)

An abscess or an infection in your throat, mouth or lungs can make your breath smell like decaying tissue.

For instance, bronchiectasis, an illness which causes the bronchial tubes (air passages) to widen and thicken and can result in frequent respiratory infections as well as excess mucus that has strong fetid smell.

Additionally, when dentures, crowns, or orthodontic devices do not fit correctly food items can be trapped into gaps. Food odors that come from food or bacterial growth can be a stench that resembles decay.

In the same way, poor dental health can result in:

  • cavities
  • ulcers
  • lesions
  • fistulas

These wound-like openings could trap food that is decaying or release the smell of decay.

Another cause is the untreated periodontal disease ( gum disease).

Granulomatosis is a condition that can cause decay or rotten breath. It’s an uncommon inflammation condition that can cause problems to your kidneys, blood vessels and the nose. It is treatable if it is detected in the early stages, but the problem could become more serious in the event that it continues to worsen without treatment.

Breath that smells of nail polish remover

Carbohydrates provide quick-burning fuel for your body. If you’re following a lower carb diet, such as paleo or keto it isn’t eating as much carbs. This means that your body’s metabolism burns stored fat instead of carbohydrates, and this may result in the production of the chemical acetone during the process.

Acetone is the chemical used in a variety of nail polish removers. It can also trigger an increase in AcetoneTrusted Source.

Breath that smells like sour

In stomach acid reflux (GERD), the muscle that connects your esophagus to your stomach does not close properly. In the end, food contents from your stomach may back into your esophagus the throat, or even your mouth.

If you suffer from GERD the breath you breathe can be sour or smell like food that is partially digested.

Breath that smells of urine

If there is something impeding the elimination of waste from your intestines, then your breath could start with the smell of Feces.

rotten tooth smell

When you’ve got a blockage in your system is likely to cause these symptoms in along with bad breath:

  • Bloating
  • vomiting
  • cramping
  • nausea
  • constipation

If you are experiencing these symptoms It is important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice them as an obstruction to the bowel could be life-threatening.

Breath that smells like urine or ammonia

Breaths that smell of the smell of urine or ammonia is commonly referred to as anoxia. This is often caused by kidney damage due to injuries or diseases.

If your kidneys aren’t able to expel enough nitrogen, the chemicals accumulate inside your body, causing ammonia-like odors.

Breath that has a musty smell

Patients suffering from liver disease which includes cirrhosis, experience breath that has a distinctive musty smell.

The distinctive scent, fetor hepaticusTrusted Source is caused through volatile organic substances (VOCs) that accumulate within your body when liver cells aren’t working in a proper way. Dimethylsulfide is believed by some to be primary responsible for the smell.

Breath that smells and smells like maple syrup

Inability to process three amino acids (leucine isoleucine, leucine, and valine) can lead to the maple syrup urine disease that causes your urine or breath are odors of maple syrup and caramelized sugar.

The disease could cause serious developmental and health issues If it’s not detected and treated in a timely manner.

Breath that smells of sweaty feet

The ability to break down proteins is crucial for the proper functioning in your body. If your body isn’t producing sufficient amounts of enzymes that breakdown amino acids in your body, then the breath might be awash with one of a variety of distinctive smells, based on which kind of enzyme isn’t functioning properly.

Isovaleric acidemia, which is a genetic disorder that affects babies and causes an accumulation of leucine within the blood, resulting in an odor that some believe smells like sweaty feet.

Breath that is smelt fishy

Trimethylaminuria is a different disorder of the enzyme where your body is unable to degrade trimethylamine, which is an organic chemical. This could cause your sweat, breath and bodily fluids to release the smell of fish.

The breath smells cooked cabbage

Hypermethioninemia is a genetic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to metabolize methionine, an amino acid. It causes urine and breath to aroma of cabbage cooked.

People who suffer from this condition usually do not experience any other symptoms that aren’t related to this type of halitosis.

What else could be the cause of the smell of bad breath?


Your mouth is humid and warm which is the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria. Over 500 varieties of bacteria are present in your mouth, most notably on the tongue’s surface and within the spaces between your teeth.

The bacteria that cause this release trigger releases of volatile sulfuric compounds (VSCs) gases that cause your breath to smell foul.


2014 study conducted by the Trusted Source found that around 80 percent of those who smoke are affected by the condition known as halitosis. Smoking can lead to bad breath. Smoking can also trigger gum and mouth infections which can cause breath problems.

Dry mouth

Saliva helps break down food and assists in controlling the growth of bacteria within your mouth. In the event that your salivary glands do not produce sufficient saliva, the mouth begins to dry out, which is known as the xerostomia. Xerostomia could lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other issues that cause odor.

Certain medications may dry your mouth Some of them include:

  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics
  • diuretics
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Certain cancer drugs

In rare instances an issue with the salivary gland may interfere with saliva production.

How to cure (or even better, stop) stinky breath

Since bad breath makes you feel embarrassed There are many solutions available to fix it.

Here are a few ways you can get rid of bad breath and to keep your mouth well-maintained.

Practice good dental hygiene

It is recommended that the American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice per day for at least two minutes. It is important to floss regularly as food particles could get stuck in places where a toothbrush can’t reach easily.

If you have dental equipment such as a device that makes use of water to sludge away food, such as Waterpik, Waterpik may be more effective than tape or floss.

Certain mouthwashes eliminate bacteria, and improve your breath and they contain fluoride, which protects your gums and teeth from tooth decay.

Get regular dental checkups

A visit to the dentist two times a each year is an essential preventative step. Regular visits to the dentist can help remove hard-to-get rid of plaque that may be difficult to out by yourself.

The dentist or hygienist you choose to consult with can teach you methods and equipment to make sure that you adhere to the most efficient at-home dental hygiene routines.

Since bad breath is often the result of something that is happening inside the throat or mouth A dentist can determine the root of the problem.

Speak to a medical professional

If a health issue is the cause of your bad breath there’s a good chance that you’re also having other signs and symptoms in addition to bad breath. To treat the smell of your breath might need to be done by bringing the medical issue under control.

If one of your medicines causes dry mouth, speak to your doctor about alternative treatments that don’t trigger this issue.

Stop smoking tobacco products

Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco, snuff or chewing tobacco can increase the risk of developing many serious health problems, including:

  • lung cancer
  • mouth cancer
  • throat cancer
  • periodontal disease

Quitting smoking will not only increase your breath and improve your overall health, it can lower your chance of developing other health problems.

Make use of products to help dry mouth.

It’s essential to stay hydrated particularly if you regularly have dry mouth. It may be beneficial to think about the use of a humidifier when you sleep in your room , if your dry mouth is likely to result from the position of your mouth that you sleep with.

Eliminating caffeine, antihistamines as well as alcohol can also be helpful. Try not to make use of an mouthwash or rinse for your oral cavity containing alcohol.

There are many products that are available for moistening your mouth such as chewing gums, rinses and mouth sprays to aid in replenishing the fluids.

It’s the bottom line

The majority of bad breath problems are the result of what’s going on in your throat or mouth.

The presence of bacteria, gum disease gum disease, dry mouths, insufficiently fitted dental appliances and infections are some of the main causes of bad breath. Sometimes, problems with the intestinal tract, the liver or kidneys are at the source of the problem.

To stop or cure bad breath, you must practice good oral hygiene and make sure to have regular dental examinations. If your dentist isn’t able to identify the source of your breath odor consult your physician. They can determine if the odor of your breath is due to an unrelated health issue.

read more about bad breath here