If you suffer from chronic halitosis, you’ve probably tried every remedy in the book, including endless streams of mints and chewing gum. These breath fresheners can mask the odor for a while, but halitosis can usually be treated with an improved oral hygiene routine. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and visit your dentist at least every six months to ensure the continued good health of your teeth and mouth. However, if you’ve tried all of this, and your halitosis still persists, there may be another lesser-known cause behind your malodorous breath. Dr. Henry discusses the possibility that your halitosis may be emanating from your lungs.

Bad Breath from Disease and Infection

After a little contemplation, it makes sense that a disease or infection in your lungs would cause your breath to smell a bit foul. After all, your breath originates in your lungs before it ever even reaches your mouth. Diseases including lung cancer, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, among others, can taint your breath with distinctive odors that can actually be utilized in early detection. Since we exhale the carbon dioxide that our blood carries to our lungs, diseases that affect the blood can have a similar effect on your breath as lung diseases (i.e., diabetes, kidney and liver disorders, etc). Unfortunately, there is no treatment for bad breath caused by disease. Treating the disease should suffice to rid you of its symptoms.

Foul Breath from Bad Habits

Smoking and drinking are not only bad for your oral and overall health; they’re bad for your breath as well. Aside from the obvious negative effects on your mouth that can cause your breath to be foul, smoking causes carcinogens to accumulate in your lungs (smokers’ lungs). If you are a smoker, at some point you’ve hacked up a mass of darkly-colored phlegm. That phlegm covers your entire lungs, and it stinks. The obvious and only solution is to quit smoking. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol breath originates in the lungs as well, not the mouth. Alcohol enters your bloodstream and its odor is released when you exhale, which is why mints and chewing gum will rarely fool a breathalyzer test. Time will rectify this cause of bad breath as the alcohol content is purged from your blood.

To learn more about your oral health, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Henry, call our Erlanger, Kentucky dentist’s office at (859) 344-8500.