What Are The Types of Bad Breath Smells? Facts About Bad Breath

Bad breath is a common problem that can be caused by many things. There are types of bad breath smells, including garlic and onion types, cigarette types, coffee types, morning mouth types, food types, and more. These different types have different causes – some are harmless while others need to be treated immediately. This article will discuss the various lousy breath smells, so you know what to watch out for!


What is Bad Breath? What is The Smell of Bad Breath?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a condition that affects many people. It is caused by various factors, including poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and certain types of food. Types of Bad Breath SmellsBad breath can also signify other health problems, such as sinus infections or liver disease.

The smell of bad breath can be challenging to describe, but most people would say it is an unpleasant, musty smell. Some types of bad breath smells are more evident than others. For example, the smell of garlic or onion after eating these foods is pretty unmistakable! However, other types of bad breath, like morning breath, may not be as easily identifiable.


Types of Bad Breath Smells

Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms can all contribute to foul breath. It might be caused by a problem in your mouth or digestive system and metabolic processes occurring in your body.

In any case, let’s look at some of the most prevalent bad breath odors and the underlying causes.


Breath that smells sweet or fruity

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal disease caused by unmanaged diabetes. It might produce the distinct odor of your breath, reminiscent of fruit or flowers. Fasting and low-carb diets can occasionally alter the scent or taste of your breath. The flavor for some people is metallic. Sweetness is smelled by others.

Breath that smells rotten like garbage or death

Your breath may have a meaty, putrid odor if you have an abscess or infection in your mouth, throat, or lungs. Food can also get caught in gaps if you have unfitted dentures, crowns, and orthodontic devices. The smells of old food and bacterial decay might fill the air.

Additionally, poor oral health issues like tooth decay, cavities, lesions, and ulcers are wound-like openings that can trap decaying food or emit rotting smells.

Another possible reason for this type of breath odor is untreated gum disease because of poor dental hygiene.

Furthermore, the breath of patients with granulomatosis can have a putrid or decaying odor. This condition is a rare inflammatory disease that affects your blood vessels, kidneys, and nose. It is curable if treated early on, but the illness can become more severe if left untreated.


Breath that smells like nail polish remover

Carbohydrates are a quick-burning source of energy for your body. You do not eat many carbs when you’re on a low-carb diet like keto or paleo. As a result, your body burns stored fat and produces acetone as a by-product rather than burning carbohydrates.


Breath that smells sour

The muscle between the esophagus and stomach does not seal correctly in individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Their stomach contents can back up into their esophagus, throat, or mouth.


Breath that smells like feces

Your breath may start to smell like feces if something obstructs the flow of waste through your intestines. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention because a bowel obstruction can be fatal.


Breath that smells of ammonia or urine

Azotemia is a condition in which your breath smells of ammonia or urine. This problem typically results from kidney damage caused by accident or illness. So, if your kidneys cannot eliminate enough nitrogen, chemicals accumulate in the body, causing an ammonia odor.


Breath that smells musty

Breath with a musty odor is characteristic of those who have liver disease, including cirrhosis. Also, the distinct aroma, known as fetor hepaticus, is caused by volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) accumulating in the body when the liver is not working correctly. Moreover, dimethylsulfide is thought to be responsible for this kind of smell.


Breath that smells like maple syrup

Maple syrup urine disease is caused by a lack of the ability to metabolize some types of amino acids. Breath or urine smells like maple syrup, or caramelized sugar might indicate maple syrup urine disease. This illness can lead to significant health and developmental issues if left untreated.


Breath that smells like sweaty feet

The ability to break down the protein is essential to function the body properly. Your breath might have one of several distinct smells depending on what sort of enzyme is not working effectively. In any case, this can happen, mainly if you do not produce enough of the correct enzymes to decompose amino acids.


Breath that smells fishy

Trimethylaminuria is an enzyme condition in which your body cannot break down trimethylamine, an organic chemical. This can make your mouth odor, sweat, and other fluids to your body release a fishy smell.


Breath that smells of boiled cabbage

Hypermethioninemia is a hereditary disease. This happens when your body cannot properly absorb the amino acid methionine. It causes your breath and urine to have a cabbage-like odor. In fact, this sort of halitosis is frequently found in people with this condition who do not experience any additional symptoms.


Other Causes of Bad Breath

Several things can cause bad breath, including:


Poor Oral Hygiene

As a matter of fact, poor dental hygiene is the most common reason for dental issues like bad breath. If you do not brush your teeth and tongue regularly, bacteria will build up and cause bad breath and other diseases.Dental checkup


Gum Disease

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Usually, it will cause the gums to become swollen and put pressure on your teeth. Also, this can trigger food debris, bacteria, and other types of material that collect in the mouth to be pushed into your pearly whites, causing a foul smell.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the common digestive disorders. In fact, this condition can make acid from your stomach leaks back into your esophagus, causing an unpleasant odor.


Smoking and Tobacco Use

Cigarette smoke and tobacco products are full of chemicals that cause bad breath.


Toiletry Products

The types of cosmetics you use could be responsible for halitosis. If you wear perfume or use hair products like hairspray, these can linger in your mouth and make your breath smell terrible.


Dry Mouth

Saliva is responsible for washing away bacteria and food particles in the mouth. So, if you have a dry mouth, these things will build up and cause bad breath.


Sinus Infections

Bacteria from a sinus infection can spread to the throat and cause bad breath.


Diabetes Mellitus

The chemicals released when your body breaks down carbohydrates can cause bad breath, particularly if you have diabetes mellitus Type 1 or Type 2. If too much sugar is present in the blood because of an insulin imbalance, dry mouth can also be triggered.


Medical Conditions

Some types of medication, such as anti-cancer drugs and antidepressants, can cause bad breath. Other medical conditions that can lead to halitosis include liver disease, kidney disease, and diabetes mellitus.


How To Prevent Bad Breath Smells

There are several things you can do to prevent bad breath:

Practice good oral hygiene: This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and using a tongue scraper.

Eat a healthy diet:  Also, a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables will help keep your mouth healthy.

Avoid smoking and using any tobacco products: Cigarette smoke is one of the leading causes of bad breath.

Use a mouthwash: Mouthwashes can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath.

Avoid foods that give you bad breath: Garlic, onions, cheese, coffee, and spicy foods are likely to make your breath smell unpleasant.

Use sugarless gum: Chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production and neutralize bad smells in the mouth.

Remain hydrated: If you are dehydrated, you are more likely to have bad breath. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.

Use a nasal irrigation system: This can help clear away bacteria and mucus from the nasal passages, reducing bad breath.

See your dentist regularly: A professional cleaning will remove plaque and tartar buildup.

Visit your doctor if you have chronic bad breath: There may be an underlying medical condition causing your halitosis. Hence, see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.



The mouth is home to an ecosystem that includes bacteria, food debris, and even parasites. When these items accumulate in the mouth cavity, they can generate some pretty foul odors like breath that smells fishy, sweaty feet, rotten and more.

So what types of bad breath smells are there? There is a lot more than just plain old halitosis! Fortunately, most cases of bad breath are attributable to poor oral hygiene habits, mainly tooth brushing frequency. These different awful smells usually do not require treatment by a dentist or doctor unless symptoms persist for over three months without any other apparent cause.



Everything you need to know about bad breath.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?