Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Pharmacist Answers Podcast

Your health is probably one of the most important things to you.  Yet it can be one of the most complicated things to understand.  Our bodies are meant to work a certain way, but when they don't, we may never be 100% sure why or what to do about it - even after seeing a healthcare professional.

The Pharmacist Answers Podcast is hosted by Cynthia Hendrix, PharmD.  On the Podcast, you can learn the basics of body parts and organ groups, get a glimpse of how disease processes work, and learn some practical steps to take in your own flesh and blood relationships with healthcare providers.

Everyone's health story is different.  No one is truly a "textbook case".  You need someone who sees your uniqueness and help you gain the knowledge and confidence to have conversations, ask questions, and make decisions that are right for YOU!

*The Podcast started out as live conversations on Periscope.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss an episode: iTunes, Stitcher, GooglePlay, TuneIn Radio

Feb 5, 2018

Bad Breath Basics

Halitosis, aka bad breath, can have many causes.  Some bad breath you can prevent with the choices you make, but some bad breath can be a sign of a more serious issue or disease.

Oral Health

You should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day, including the surface of your tongue, then rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.  Follow one of your brushing sessions with a good flossing.  This allows you to get any food debris and bacteria build-up out of the way on a daily basis.

You should see your dentist twice a year for a deep cleaning and a check-up on your overall oral health.  Your dentist will be able to help you with bad breath issues that may stem from more complicated issues like cavities, gum disease, poorly-fitting dentures, or thrush.

Dry mouth, whether due to your natural biology, medication side effects, or mouth-breathing, can lead to bad breath due to the imbalance of bacteria growth.

Your Choices

Smoking and other tobacco products can make your breath smell bad even when you are not actively using it.

The foods you eat also affect the status of your breath.  The compounds that cause eaten and digested foods to smell contain sulfur-based compounds.  These include broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions and garlic, coffee, and fish.  The funny thing about these smelly compounds is that they can actually make your WHOLE BODY smell (including your breath as well as other exiting air) until they have passed all the way out of your body! 


Infections, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis, can lead to distinctive bad breath.  Postnasal drip can lead to bad breath as well.  Pharyngeal diverticula that trap old food bits can make your breath smell, as well as tonsil stones that are calcified debris trapped by the tonsils.  Bad breath can also be indicative of acid reflux or GERD.

Certain diseases that have telltale breath smells include diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. 

People with diabetes are at risk of a medical emergency known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis, in which a lack of insulin renders the body's cells unable to use the available sugar.  The body starts burning fatty acids for energy and the waste product is ketones.  Ketones cause the body to become very acidic.  This leads to a rapid transfer of water (extracellular fluid rushes into the blood to try and neutralize and dilute the ketones and then the kidneys rapidly try to flush out the acidic fluid through the urine) which can lead to fatal dehydration.  Clinicians are taught that people experiencing ketoacidosis may have fruity-smelling breath or breath that smells like acetone or nail polish remover.

People with liver disease may have breath that smells musty or like a mildewing basement.  And people with kidney disease may have breath that smells fishy or like urine or ammonia.  Ammonia is a typical by-product that is released in urine.  Someone with kidney disease may not be able to filter out the ammonia compounds effectively.  Therefore, the ammonia compounds will circulate in the blood.

Call Back

Brush your tongue - Tastebuds
Tonsil stones - Tonsils
Pharyngeal diverticula - Dysphagia

Connect with me

Support us on Patreon

Give us your Feedback

Join the Pharmacist Answers Podcast Community on Facebook

Subscribe: iTunesStitcherGooglePlayTuneIn Radio

Like the Facebook page

Music Credits: Up In My Jam (All Of A Sudden) by - Kubbi Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0 provided by Audio Library