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Diabetics are prone to bad breath, what causes it?

Bad breath is not only a sign of poor oral hygiene, it can also signal diabetes. For diabetics, this condition can occur due to accompanying health problems. Why is this happening? Check out the full explanation below.

Diabetics are prone to bad breath, what causes it?

Causes of bad breath in people with diabetes

Basically, bad breath can be caused by certain foods, drinks, or lifestyles. But in diabetics it can be caused by a number of health problems, from mild to serious.

The following are various causes of bad breath in diabetics, including:

1. Periodontitis Disease

The bacteria that cause this disease can attack the tissues and bones that support the teeth. The disease, which is a complication of gingivitis, also disrupts metabolism and increases blood sugar.

Diabetes is known to damage blood vessels, which results in reduced blood flow throughout the body, including the gums. If the gums and teeth don’t receive a proper blood supply, they may become weak and more susceptible to infection.

Diabetes can also increase the level of glucose in the mouth, leading to bacterial growth, infection and bad breath. When blood sugar levels are high, the body has a harder time fighting off infection, making it more difficult for gum problems to heal.

Not only bad breath, people with diabetes who develop this disease can cause other symptoms, including bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and receding gums.

2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis

When cells are deprived of energy from glucose, the body begins to burn fat. The process of burning fat will produce by-products called ketones, which are a type of acid produced by the liver.

Ketones tend to cause bad breath similar to acetone. This type of bad breath is not typical for people with diabetes. Although this condition is also a side effect of the low-carbohydrate and high-protein keto diet, in diabetic ketoacidosis, bad breath is much more pungent.

Keep in mind, ketoacidosis is when ketone levels are very high and occurs due to too little insulin, not enough food, low blood glucose, or a combination of the three.

The longer this condition lasts, the more likely you are to experience diabetic ketoacidosis. This disease can be dangerous if not treated properly.

Also Read: Why do diabetics sweat more easily?

3. Dry Mouth

This condition is often caused by high blood sugar or medications. Dry mouth also indicates that the production of saliva will decrease, this is what then increases the growth of bacteria.

So if you have a dry mouth, the acid produced as a by-product will harm your oral health.

If you believe that the medication you are taking is worsening the condition or have tried to relieve the condition by drinking; but the situation does not improve, consult your doctor about changing the drug that is being used.

4. Fungal Infection in the Mouth

An increased risk of infection in diabetics can occur due to a weak immune system. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause long-term infections.

In particular, diabetes can increase your risk of developing a oral yeast infection called candidiasis. Immediately get treatment from a doctor to determine the right treatment.

Also Read: 15 Common and Rarely Known Causes of Bad Breath (Halitosis).

How to Overcome Bad Breath in Diabetics

After you know the various conditions that make diabetics have bad breath, here are some tips you can try to overcome them, including:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and flossing (using dental floss) every day.
  • Brushing or scraping the tongue.
  • Drink enough water and keep your mouth moist.
  • Maintain blood sugar levels within the normal range.
  • Eat sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. Make sure the dentist knows that you have diabetes.
  • Taking prescription medication to stimulate saliva production.
  • If wearing dentures, make sure they are the right size and remove them at night.
  • Consider quitting smoking immediately.

Now,those are various steps you can try to prevent and treat bad breath due to diabetes.

  1. Anonymous. 2021. What Does Bad Breath Have to Do with Diabetes?. (Accessed January 20, 2023)
  2. Fallabel, Christine. 2022. What’s the Connection Between Bad Breath and Diabetes?. (Accessed January 20, 2023)
  3. Morris, Susan Y. 2022. What Does Bad Breath Have to Do with Diabetes?. (Accessed January 20, 2023)

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