It is essential to know that your breath has a striking ability to give clues as to your state of health. For instance, A sweet, fruity odour can be a sign of ketoacidosis ( which is a complication of diabetes), an ammonia odour is associated with kidney disease, and a very foul, fruity smell may be a sign of anorexia nervosa. Other conditions like cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, liver diseases, and asthma can also cause notable odour.

Halitosis, mainly known as Bad breath, can be used by physicians to tell if you have diabetes. 

What Causes Bad Breath In Diabetes?

Diabetes-related bad breath is caused by two significant factors: ketones in the blood and periodontal disease.


When the body cannot produce insulin, your cells do not get the glucose they need as a source of energy. To compensate for this, the body tends to burn fats to at least get some fuel for the cells. Burning fats instead of glucose leads to the production of ketones which builds up in the blood and urine

Increased ketone levels often result in bad breath. One of the ketones, known as acetone, will cause your breath to smell like nail polish.

When the level of ketones in the body becomes excess, there will be a high risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Notable Symptoms of DKA include:

  • High blood glucose levels
  • A sweet and fruity odour on your breath
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • More frequent urination than normal

Periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases, known as gum diseases, include advanced periodontitis, mild periodontitis, and gingivitis. This disease is caused by a certain bacteria that attack and destroys the tissues and bones that give support to the teeth. This inflammation can affect metabolism and increase your blood sugar levels, thereby worsening diabetes.

It is possible for diabetes to damage blood vessels, and when it does this, it reduces the flow of blood in the body, including the gums. If your gums are not receiving proper blood supply, they become weak and more prone to bacterial infection. Diabetes may also elevate glucose levels in the mouth, thereby promoting bacterial growth and bad breath. When blood sugar levels are high, the body finds it hard to fight infection, so the gum wounds do not heal quickly.

How To Manage Bad Breath From Diabetes

To control bad breath associated with diabetes, you can make use of the following daily tips:

  • Never forget to brush or scrape your tongue- which is a principal breeding place for foul-smelling bacteria.
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily.
  • Visit your dentist regularly and follow their prescriptions.
  • If you wear dentures, ensure that they are fitted well and removed at night.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Stimulate saliva by using sugar-free mints or gum.
  • Drink water and keep your mouth moist.

In summary

Bad breath might be an indication of something serious. If you have diabetes, it is advisable to look out for your gum and report every change or bad breath to your health providers. 

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