How You Breathe Ties Into Your Overall Health

How You Breathe Ties Into Your Overall Health : Did you know that your dentist may be able to detect early warning signs about potential health issues, just by looking at your mouth? Indicators such as bad breath, dry mouth, or discoloured gums can signal more than just an oral health problem – they can actually point to larger overall health issues.

Let’s talk about some common ways that your oral health and breath can tie into your overall health below.

Fishy Odors Your Breath

Your kidneys are an integral part of your bodily function, and it is important that they stay in healthy condition. Kidneys are there to cleanse the blood, remove toxins and chemicals from the body, and transfer those toxins into urine for disposal. Kidney disorders happen when the kidneys don’t function the way they are supposed to, and they can bring on many symptoms such as: fatigue, dry skin, foamy or bloody urine, or frequent urination. Another notable symptom of a kidney disorder is a fishy odor in the breath. If you are noticing a consistently fishy smell in your breath, you may need to have a doctor take a look.


If you notice a dry mouth or particularly bad breath when you wake up every morning, it might be more than just morning breath. Bad breath is caused by bacteria buildup in your mouth, which is why you might notice bad breath when you don’t drink enough water or when you wake up after snoring all night. Individuals with especially bad breath may snore more than usual, which could be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition which causes you to stop breathing during the night, which can cause the person to snore excessively and experience poor sleep. Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, if you find you are snoring more often than not, you may have another issue with your teeth or jaw alignment that your dentist can help with.

Dry Mouth

Are you drinking enough water every day? On average, we should be having 7-8 glasses of water per day. If you are not getting enough water, it will show in your breath. There is constantly bacteria forming and growing in our mouths, and when we salivate, the bacteria is washed away. But saliva alone cannot clear out all of the bacteria – that is where brushing our teeth and drinking water comes in to help rinse away excess bacteria. Not only does dehydration deplete the amount of saliva we produce, it also removes that extra rinse that we get while drinking water throughout the day. If you notice bad breath throughout the day, you may need to consider drinking more water.

Acid Reflux

If you notice that your bad breath is often accompanied by a sour taste or a burning in your chest, you may be experiencing issues related to your stomach acids. The stomach naturally produces acids that help break down our food, but sometimes these acids can react poorly with what we eat and cause us discomfort. This can be a symptom of acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which causes stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus.

Your dentist can detect some of these symptoms and help protect your teeth from damage relating to stomach acid that may be present in the mouth.

Sweet-Smelling Breath

You may think that only having bad breath is a problem, but having breath that smells too sweet can also be a sign of serious medical complications. If you notice a sweet odor in your mouth that isn’t from your mouthwash or toothpaste, you should be tested for diabetes. Some other common symptoms of diabetes include: constant thirst, vision problems, frequent urination, drastic weight loss, and unexplained hunger. Diabetes is a serious condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible in order to help get your symptoms under control and get you back to living a healthy life.

Sinus Congestion

Did you know that bad breath can also be a sign that your allergies are flaring up? Post-nasal drip, mucus build-up, respiratory infections, can all cause bad breath. These symptoms are often a part of seasonal allergies, and all that extra mucus can cause bacteria buildup or dry mouth from breathing through your mouth for extended periods of time. If you are noticing bad breath around the same time of year that your allergies kick in, it’s a good sign for you to stock up on allergy medication!

Similarly, a common cold can also cause a bad breath odor. If you are sick, brush regularly and gargle with salt water to help rinse away mucus and odor.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Another common cause of bad breath is gum disease and tooth decay within your mouth. Since our teeth are made up of layers, sometimes bacteria can find its way into or under the tooth. Once it is in there, it may cause pain and bad breath. If you notice bad breath even after brushing, you might want to have your dentist take a closer look. The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss thoroughly every day and use mouthwash regularly.

As you can see, there are many ways that health issues can present themselves in your mouth, and your Coquitlam dentist is knowledgeable and trained to see any warning signs that may appear during your visit. Visiting your dental team regularly is one of the best ways to ensure that both your oral health and overall health stays in top condition.




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