Although most cases of halitosis are caused by poor oral hygiene and chronic dry mouth that promotes anaerobic bacterial growth, halitosis could be the result of a bad breath disease affecting other parts of the body. For example, certain systemic diseases that affect multiple organs and tissues such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders and hypertension, are also referred to as "blood-borne" halitosis diseases because they can induce non-oral bad breath.
When an enzyme deficiency exists within the body, metabolic processes are disrupted, resulting in extreme chemical imbalances that produce unusual and sometimes dangerous symptoms. A genetic disease called trimethylaminuria (TMAU), or "fish odor syndrome" is a metabolic disorder that causes breath, saliva, sweat and urine to smell like rotting fish. Reduced levels of a specific enzyme needed to break down trimethylamine in the body allows high amounts of this chemical to remain in the blood, where it is eventually forced to be excreted in bodily fluids.
Trimethylamine, which is manufactured by intestinal bacteria, is necessary for breaking down amino acids, choline and carnitine, all compounds found in egg yolks, liver, fish and beans. This is why someone suffering from TMAU has such distinctly foul bad breath as well as an overall "fishy" body odor. In addition, TMAU patients are known to have elevated levels of anaerobic bacteria living in their mouths, the same bacteria responsible for non-disease related halitosis.
Currently, no cure exists for TMAU, but people affected by this bad breath disease can reduce the severity of their halitosis by:
- Avoiding foods such as eggs, beans, liver, peas and soy products (these foods contain rich amounts of choline and carnitine)
- Taking antibiotics to decrease bacteria living in the stomach and intestines
- Taking activated charcoal and copper chlorophyllin supplements to lower concentrations of urine-based trimethylamine
- Making sure they brush and floss twice daily, drink plenty of water and visit a dentist every six months for a complete check-up and cleaning
Fortunately, bad breath caused by incurable metabolic disorders such as TMAU, diabetes mellitus (which produces a decaying, fruity odor) and diabetes ketoacidosis (a high blood sugar condition that dehydrates the body and reduces saliva flow) can be effectively reduced by using alcohol-free, oxygenated oral hygiene products that stimulate saliva flow and oxygen content of the mouth. Anaerobic bacteria cannot live in hydrated, oxygenated environments and will stop producing volatile sulfur compounds in such conditions.
While most name brand toothpastes and mouthwashes contain alcohol, a known desiccating agent, and sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh surfactant that actually contributes to halitosis by providing anaerobes with food in the form of abraded tissue, TheraBreath Oral Hygiene products are made with natural ingredients and are free of any ingredients that could promote an existing case of bad breath.
In addition to the chemical imbalances indicative of metabolic disorders, bad breath diseases are further exacerbated by xerostomia (dry mouth) and lack of sufficient amounts of saliva (which also contains oxygen molecules). When the mouth is dry, without oxygen and suffering from the side effects of an enzyme deficiency, anaerobic bacteria capable of emitting vast amounts of volatile sulfur compounds (which create bad breath) overwhelm the mouth and create chronic, unremitting halitosis.
Only TheraBreath products can reverse these abnormal pH conditions in the mouth with powerful ingredients that oxygenate, hydrate and eliminate the offensives tastes and odors accompanying many metabolic disorders.
Periodontitis (also called "pyorrhea"), is a serious inflammatory disease affecting the gum tissues surrounding teeth. Tooth loss, gums that bleed after brushing, recession of gums and severe halitosis are primary symptoms of periodontitis but so is a progressive deterioration of the bone structures supporting teeth. Poor oral hygiene habits that allow bacteria to form a hard biofilm (plaque) over teeth are the main causes of periodontitis, along with the extremely aggressive response enacted by the immune system on these destructive microorganisms.
Some research studies indicate that untreated periodontitis may contribute to myocardial infarction and strokes due to the increase of Interleukin-6 and C-reactive proteins in the body. These inflammatory markers can encourage existing conditions that may lead to strokes or heart attacks by irritating damaged vessels and enlarging blood clots.
Patients suffering from diabetes mellitus often suffer more frequently from periodontitis, especially if they have trouble regulating their blood glucose or do not follow a prescribed treatment plan. When periodontitis is detected, immediate treatment by a dentist specializing in this bad breath disease is necessary to prevent the disease from destroying more bone, teeth and gums. While receiving treatment, patients can use TheraBreath products to reduce the severity of bad breath caused by periodontitis decay and the rapid growth of anaerobic bacteria that feeds off the infection.
Other medical conditions known to cause halitosis are:
- Kidney disease--damaged kidneys that are unable to filter toxins from the blood and release them through urination allow toxins levels to increase in the bloodstream. These toxins are then forced to be excreted through sweat and saliva, which makes the breath smell strongly acidic like unfiltered urine
- Liver disease--the liver also filters toxins from the blood, especially lipids contained in fatty food. Blood impurities remaining in the blood due to liver disease are also excreted through saliva and sweat
- Cancer--halitosis may indicate lung, throat, esophageal or tongue cancer in lesions that are open and attracting bacteria that digest dead tissue
- Acid reflux (GERD, or gastrointestinal reflux disease)--the acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus and back of the throat smells rancid and is full of partially digested proteins on which anaerobic bacteria thrive
- Crohn's disease--an intestinal inflammatory disease producing ulcerations in the stomach and intestines, Crohn's disease is often co-morbid with GERD
Receiving effective treatment plans that alleviate the symptoms of a bad breath disease is vital to remaining healthy and free of halitosis. However, eliminating bad breath and preventing its embarrassing presence from returning when you least expect it can only be accomplished by using TheraBreath's Oral Hygiene products specifically designed for dry mouth, pH imbalances and the excessive activity of anaerobic bacteria.
To read more, check out this article on Systemic Diseases and Bad Breath.