Most of us, unfortunately, will go through occasional periods of bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis. However, although bad breath is a potentially embarrassing problem that can cause serious psychological stigma, there is a also a serious medical component to this problem. Bad breath is not merely embarrassing; it can also signal serious medical issues. Although it is rare, if you find that you suffer from chronic, long-standing halitosis, it is definitely something that you would want to take to your medical doctor. 

What Causes Bad Breath in the First Place? 

There are many potential causes for bad breath. Everyone knows that they are bound to experience occasional bouts with bad breath, especially after eating especially pungent foods. But it definitely seems that some people are more prone to bad breath than others. Bad breath can often be caused by so many things, including: the kind of foods that you eat, especially known food culprits such as fish, red meat, Brussels sprouts, horse radish, cabbage, garlic (of course), eggs, raw onions, and some kinds of peppers. Alcohol, coffee and cigarettes have also been strongly linked to bad breath. However, even if you avoid these foods, it does not mean that you will automatically be free from bad breath. This is because there are many potential underlying causes for halitosis. This makes it extra difficult to control bad breath. Some of the potential underlying causes that can lead to bad breath include lung infections, post-nasal drip, bronchial infections, chronic sinusitis, and tonsillitis. Other problems that can trigger bad breath includes diabetes, syphilis, nasal polyps, kidney problems, liver problems, stomach and lung problems and gallbladder problems. 

How Do You Even Know if You Have Bad Breath? 

How do you know if you even have bad breath? It seems that the hardest part is actually finding out if you have bad breath in the first place. It can sometimes be difficult to tell whether you are suffering from halitosis. It can be very unreliable, if not downright impossible to test your own breath. Most people will have to find out the hard way, either by having someone tell them or by sensing a bad taste in their mouth. If you really want to understand the extent of your bad breath, visit your doctor to get tested by a halimeter or another breath-testing instrument. 

Underlying Medical Conditions That Can Lead to Halitosis 

How do you know if your chronic bad breath is simply bad breath, or if there is a more serious condition at hand? There are some symptoms that can be indicative of larger problems. If you have halitosis accompanied by a fish-like odor, this can be indicative of serious kidney or chronic renal failure problems. Chronic halitosis may also be related to the use of prescription drugs. Recent research has found that carcinomas can also cause symptoms of bad breath. If you suspect that your chronic bad breath is being caused by an underlying medical condition, you should pay a visit to your medical doctor. 

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