Is your bad breath trying to tell you something?

Stinky, foul smelling breath is far more than just a social embarrassment. It could be a warning about your health.

In fact, checking your breath regularly could even save your life.

Let’s look at the 9 things your breath could be trying to tell you about your health.

#1 – The Big C

Cancers of both the stomach and the esophagus can leave you with less than minty fresh breath. In fact, in researchers in London proved that testing breath samples for five chemical signatures was 85% accurate for the detection of these types of cancers.

#2 – Reflux

If your breath has a sour smell, you could be suffering from acid reflux. You see, when the acid in your stomach backs up into your esophagus, causing heart burn, indigestion and chest pain, you get a bitter taste in your mouth and the bad breath to go along with it.

#3 – Heart Failure

Researchers at the renowned Cleveland Clinic say that heart failure can be revealed in a single breath.  In fact, they say that patients suffering from heart failure have a very specific “breathprint.”  This is because the stress on the heart causes patients to produce identifiable changes in breath isoprenes – volatile organic compounds released from muscle tissue.

Cleveland Clinic researchers collected breath samples from 41 patients. Twenty-five were officially diagnosed with acute decompensated heart failure. Sixteen patients had other cardiovascular conditions but showed no signs of heart failure.

Researchers then used mass spectrometry technology to analyze the breath samples for molecular and chemical compound signs of heart failure. Within two hours, the breath test correctly distinguished which patients had heart failure from the other cardiac patients.

#4 – Diabetes

A sweet, fruity smell to your breath is a sign of blood sugar problems.

When your body can’t make insulin, your cells don’t receive the glucose they need for fuel and your body switches to burning fat. Burning fat instead of sugar produces ketones, which build up in your blood and urine. When ketones rise to unsafe levels, you’re at risk of a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis and that fruity smell to your breath.

#5 – Kidney Failure

An ammonia, urine-like, or fishy odor to your breath is a sign of kidney failure. This is because your kidneys are responsible for removing the waste from your blood and making urine. When this process fails, all of those toxins build up in your bloodstream and the smell leaks out in your bad breath.

#6 – Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Extreme morning breath, especially a sour smell, is a sign of a sleep problem. When you suffer from conditions like sleep apnea and chronic snoring, your mouth spends much of the night open, drying out your saliva and allowing the foul-smelling bacteria in your mouth to build up.

This is also true when you suffer from allergies or respiratory infections.

#7 – Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that surround your teeth. It is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults. Because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. Gum disease creates pockets in your gums, which also harbor odor-causing bacteria and result in a metallic smell to your breath.

#8 – Bacteria

Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that can cause ulcers and stomach cancer. In fact, one study found that 87% of people with bad breath also were infected with H. pylori.

#9 – Liver Failure

Bad breath can be a sign of poor liver function because the liver is responsible for breaking down fat in the body and extracting harmful substances from the blood.

When the body is not able to metabolize fat and there are impurities in the blood, this can increase bacteria in the mouth, which produces a foul odor.

“Fetor hepaticus”, a sweet, musty aroma, is found in late stage liver failure.

Bad breath can be an indicator of something serious. Even though your first instinct may be to cover it up, have it checked out so you can feel at ease. Most likely your bad breath is just a result of a sour tummy, an offending food or even stress. But better to know for sure.

If you check out in the all clear, follow these tips to eliminate your bad breath naturally. Avoid mouthwash–because a mouth that’s too fresh can lead to blood pressure problems.


  1. Breath test could help detect stomach and esophageal cancers — ScienceDaily
  2. Heart Failure Revealed in a Single Breath — Cleveland Clinic
  3. Breath isoprene in patients with heart failure. — European Journal of Heart Failure
  4. Breath odor — U.S. National Library of Medicine
  5. Periodontal (Gum) Disease — National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  6. Halitosis — Patient
  7. Halitosis and Helicobacter pylori: a possible relationship. — Digestive Diseases and Sciences
Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.