Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bad-Breathed Hubby Needs More Than Just Mints

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I love my husband with all my heart, but I can't stand to kiss him due to his horrible, awful breath. It is bad, and I don't mean bad like, "I see you had Caesar salad for lunch today" bad; but overwhelming, make you gag bad. The guilt I feel is making me miserable and I can see the hurt in his eyes when I turn my face away from him, but I just can't do it! The smell is
that rank!

The dear man has tried everything - brushing, flossing, mouthwash, breath mints - he has even eliminated garlic from his diet, but to no avail; his breath is
still awful. He has never smoked, nor does he chew tobacco, and he does not eat a low-carb diet that gives so many people nasty breath. Do you have any ideas of what else he could try, Tazi-Kat? This issue is putting a huge wedge between us, and is tearing apart our marriage.

Missin' His Kissin'

Dear Missin'...:

There are many causes of halitosis (that's the medical term for chronic bad breath) and most of them are bacterial. The mouth, being moist and warm, is the perfect place for bacteria to grow. If the things your husband has tried to alleviate the problem - brushing, flossing, and mouthwash - are not working then oral bacteria can probably be eliminated as the source of the problem. Since you mention that he has eliminated garlic from his diet - the chemicals in which enter the lungs through the blood stream - it can be certain that this is not the problem, either. Low-carb/high-protien diets lead to ketosis (the burning of fat for energy) and you are right, they do cause horrible breath. However, since your husband is not a low-carb dieter either, this leads me to believe that the underlying cause of your husband's breath could be a more serious health issue.

How exactly does your husband's breath smell? Can you pinpoint it? Here are a few bad breath smells that are associated with particular health issues:

Rotting fruit: Undiagnosed diabetes (and dangerously high blood glucose levels)
Ammonia: Kidney disease or even kidney failure
Bad fish: Liver disease/liver failure (this is also accompanied by jaundice)

Other smells that cannot be described could be associated with a lung infection or throat problems, such as ulcerations or even cancer. It would do your husband well to see a doctor for a thorough check-up. This means he will have to be completely honest with the doctor about his halitosis. It could be embarrassing, but it could also save his life.


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