Possible causes of sudden-onset of bad breath?

This is not a thread seeking medical advice, I am just asking an academic question here. I’ve noticed, fairly out of the blue, that recently I’ve had fairly consistently bad breath. I’ve become aware of this because I can actually smell it and smelling my own breath is something exceedingly hard for me to typically do (unless it’s rank).

I chew gum regularly and my dental habits are excellent; I brush and floss regularly. I am flummoxed as to what could be causing this halitosis to come about without anything else seemingly going on. What could the possible causes of sudden-onset halitosis be? Could it be indicative of more serious maladies?


One of the few downsides to starting the Atkins Diet was that once I was in full blown Ketoacidosis, my breath was wretched. Since it came from the gut and not the mouth, I used all manner of mints and rinses but it was just plain bad.

You doing very high protein and very low carbs?

What does it actually smell like? I’ve noticed different smells coming out of my mouth at random times and sometimes it varies based on what you eat, or could be part of a digestion problem that may or may not be serious.

That’s what I came in to say. We have a person that stops in at our work that has absolutely terrible breath. To the point where if you walk into the backroom even a few minutes after he leaves you can tell that he was there (and it IS is breath and not BO). I mentioned it to a co-worker who said that when she used to get tonsil stones that smell is exactly what her breath tasted like. She recognized it right away.

An ENT can take a look at your tonsils and tell you if you’re prone to getting tonsil stones and what you can do to prevent/deal with them (up to and including getting your tonsils out).

Nitpick: You probably did not have ketoacidosis…that is a medical emergency. The goal to Atkins is to be in ketosis (which can and does cause bad breath).

Good nitpick ! I meant Ketosis.

However, while volunteering as an EMT, I did encounter more than one patient with Ketoacidosis. And yeah. It was a hell of an emergency.

I sit corrected.

You might want to have your dentist (or a periodontist) check out your gums. Gingivitis can be a prime cause of bad breath.

Respiratory infections possibly too.

Any good dentist would probably be the first place the go asking. A dentist could determine if it was a tooth/gum problem or else, could refer you to the right other doctor for a deeper look.

It could also by nasal polyps. If left untreated, nasal polyps can require disfiguring surgery and cause brain damage and death. Of course gingivitis can also require amputation of sections of the jaw if left untreated, so it’s not real good either.

Don’t fuck around with this.

If your breath is so bad that even you can smell it, you really do need to get a doctor to check it out. Something inside of you is rotting, and that is never a good thing. It’s impossible to diagnose over the internet, and since the consequences involve having half your face cut off or spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair unable to speak, it’s probably worth the expense of a professional diagnosis.

I had it happen with a tooth abscess. It formed under one of my upper molars and caused no pain but suddenly my breathe was foul. One day I noticed a slight lump on my gum, pressed it and out poured the infected fluid. Apparently cleaning my teeth each day was opening up the channel that the fluid was using to ease the pressure of the infection.

My dentist said that had the fluid not found a way out I would have had the usual pain. As it was I needed a root canal anyway.

My god. :eek: Thankfully I have a dentist’s appointment in two weeks but I’m beginning to worry it may be a long two weeks.

I’m not on low-carbs but it may be my tonsils. That will definitely be one of my questions to the dentist.

Don’t stress.

The chances of progresing from “no symptoms” to “life threatening” within two weeks are about the same as your chance of being kicked to death by a duck.

You certainly don’t want to leave it for 12 months before you get it checked out, but it’s not a cause for panic either. These things cause serious problems because the infection gradually eats away at the bone. That’s a long, slow process, it’s not gonna happen in two weeks.

All the bad problems I’ve heard are caused by people ignoring the symptoms for years because the smell comes and goes. Even if the smell goes away tomorrow, still go see the Doc.

I agree that in my opinion that is due to our digestion and eating habits too.

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