Bad breath; Halitosis; Malodor; Fetor oris; Fetor ex ore; Fetor ex oris; Breath malodor; Oral malodor
Breath odor is the scent of the air you breathe out of your mouth. Unpleasant breath odor is commonly called bad breath.
I Would Like to Learn About:
Bad breath is usually related to poor dental hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly causes sulfur compounds to be released by bacteria in the mouth.
Some disorders will produce distinct breath odors. Some examples are:
A fruity odor to the breath is a sign of ketoacidosis, which may occur in diabetes. It is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Breath that smells like feces can occur with prolonged vomiting, especially when there is a bowel obstruction. It may also occur temporarily if a person has a tube placed through the nose or mouth to drain their stomach.
The breath may have an ammonia-like odor (also described as urine-like or "fishy") in people with chronic kidney failure.
Michael Kapner, DDS, Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.