Many people with diabetes notice that it seems to cause bad breath. Unfortunately, diabetes bad breath and underlying disorders go hand in hand.
When diabetics experience persistent halitosis (bad breath), it may be a sign of ketoacidosis. Since bad breath caused by ketoacidosis is often the first sign of diabetes, it is often mistaken for gum disease. Ketoacidosis can be a serious condition, so it's important to seek professional medical care as soon as possible if you have diabetes and persistent bad breath.
Insulin is what the body uses to process glucose to get energy. However, diabetics do not have enough insulin to process glucose efficiently. As a result, the body can't get its energy from glucose. When that happens, the body begins breaking down body fat for energy. In the process, ketones build up in the body and urine. Ketones are acids that can be poisonous in high levels. When this happens, ketoacidosis occurs.
There are many symptoms that accompany ketoacidosis besides just bad breath. People with ketoacidosis may notice nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and fruity-smelling breath. Unfortunately, dry mouth can cause bad breath to be even worse.
If you have bad breath due to ketoacidosis and diabetes, it typically cannot be treated by things that treat other types of bad breath. Mouthwash and toothpaste often just mask the odor. The only treatment for bad breath caused by ketoacidosis is treating the ketoacidosis. This typically involves the administration of insulin. The insulin will then allow the body to process glucose, stop using body fat for energy and stop producing body odor-causing ketones. After the insulin level returns to normal, the smell of bad breath goes away quickly.
People with ketoacidosis may think that their problem is gone when their bad breath is replaced with fruity smelling breath. That is not the case. Fruity smelling breath is another side effect of ketoacidosis and it typically gives way to bad breath after a short amount of time. When diabetes and bad breath occur together, even if it only happens intermittently, it is important to seek treatment. It can save your breath and your health.
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