Bad Breath

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose bad breath, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "bad breath" as a symptom.  Here are six possibilities:
  • Mercury Toxicity
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • General Toxicity
  • Tonsil Stones
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Stomach Ulcers

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
moderate meal-induced pain
poorly-removed amalgams
vision disturbances
recent light tobacco smoking
history of herbicide exposure
moving white lines across nails
much reduced sense of smell
having trouble concentrating
gums that bleed easily
metallic taste in mouth
occasional rashes
nasal congestion
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of bad breath:
Cause Probability Status
Cigarette Smoke Damage 93% Confirm
Mercury Toxicity 57% Possible
Tonsil Stones 25% Unlikely
Stomach Ulcers 0% Ruled out
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 0% Ruled out
General Toxicity 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Mouth/Oral Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about bad breath:
Do you have bad breath?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Occasionally, minor
→ Often minor or occasionally moderate
→ Often moderate or occasionally very bad
→ Often very bad
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no indication of bad breath, minor bad breath, significant bad breath or severe bad breath, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet

The acetone resulting from a state of ketosis escapes through the lungs – giving Atkins Diet followers, for example, what one weight-loss expert calls "rotten-apple breath." [Health 19 (1996): p.102] The other ketones have to be excreted by the kidneys.  In a study funded by Dr. Atkins himself, most of the people that could stick with the diet reported headaches and halitosis (bad breath).

Tonsil Stones

A medical study conducted in 2007 found a strong association between tonsilloliths and bad breath.  Among those with bad breath, 75% of the subjects had tonsilloliths while only 6% of subjects with normal breath had tonsilloliths.

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