This is what your breath odour says about your health

Mouth odour can differ from person to person, and it could tell you if you have an underlying health issue.

Bad breath
© Timothy Dykes/UNSPLASH
Bad breath

Talking to someone who has really bad breath can be quite uncomfortable, but there’s something that’s worse than that—being the person who has bad breath. And whether we like to admit it or not, it actually happens more often than usual that there are weird smells coming from our mouth. It could be because we just woke up, had a meal full of garlic, onion, or fish, or had a few too many drinks. But bad breath can also be an indicator of other health conditions.

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So, let’s learn a little more about the types of bad breath and what it could say about our health.


If you have a breath that smells sweet and almost fruit, it could be because you are eating a low-carb diet. People who are fasting may also notice a sweet or metallic note in their mouth odour. Experts at Healthline explained:

Low carb diets cause you to burn body fat for fuel, which leads to the release of chemicals called ketones in your breath and urine. The buildup of ketones can cause changes to the smell of your breath.


For those of you who have breath that smells kind of rotten, chances are you probably have food stuck in your teeth. This often happens to people who are using orthodontic devices like braces, and retainers, or have crowns and dentures in their teeth.

Breath that smells like something is decaying could also be caused by bacterial growth, poor oral hygiene, or an infection in your mouth, throat, or lungs.


As gross as it sounds, you could also have breath that smells like the bathroom after you’ve gone number 2. Dental professionals at Hagerman Dental Care explain that this is most likely caused by an ‘obstruction in your bowel movements.’ They write:

A bowel obstruction occurs when stools start to back up, resulting in the large and/or small intestines no longer being able to process waste. Breath that smells like poop combined with constipation is a good sign that you have a bowel obstruction.


Sour smelling breath is normally attributed to acid reflux—a condition that makes the acid in your stomach travel up to your throat. This action can sometimes bring liquid and bits of undigested food back into your mouth, hence leaving a sour smell and taste.WebMD adds that:

The acid also can damage your throat and mouth, and that can make a breeding ground for more smelly bacteria.
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