September 13, 2021

What Your Kidneys and Bad Breath Have in Common

bad breath and kidney disease

No one enjoys having bad breath, also known as halitosis. It can even be anxiety provoking, and understandably so. The causes of halitosis, better known as bad breath, can range from poor hygiene, dry mouth, cancer, diabetes, and even kidney disease. It can be one of the warning signs of more serious medical conditions. 

Just because you have halitosis, doesn’t mean you have kidney disease, but it is one of the dozen or so common signs to be cognizant of it. Over 37 million American adults are unknowingly living with kidney disease. Here are a few things to know about the correlation between the two – bad breath and kidney disease.

Why can kidney disease cause bad breath?

If your kidneys are not functioning properly, the toxins your body would typically expel instead build up in your system and those toxins cause your breath to smell. It is often called ammonia breath. The buildup of waste in the blood, uremia, can lead to halitosis. Some patients have cited that it can smell like fish or even urine. 

Why can kidney disease cause changes in taste? 

Just like uremia causes poor breath, it also can cause changes in how food and drink taste. This may discourage individuals from wanting to eat and some describe a foul taste, citing that it makes their mouth taste like iron. Uremia has also been known to make meat and other proteins off-putting.  

When should I see a doctor? 

If you feel that you have strong oral hygiene practices and make some adjustments like increased flossing, brushing, and drinking water, yet still experience poor breath, it may be time to visit your healthcare professional, beyond your dentist, to see what the root case may be.

Gum disease could be another cause of your halitosis. South Gables Dental offers top periodontic services in Coral Gables, FL if you suffer from gum disease.


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