Bad breath is blamed on poor dental hygiene practices. People assume that you have not brushed, or flossed when your breath is unappealing, but did you know that halitosis can also be used as a medical diagnostic tool? Your breath can often alert your doctor to things happening inside your body, and your breath does not have to be stinky to be revealing.

9 Conditions your breath can reveal

1. Your breath can help detect stomach cancer

An analysis of 484 patients by researchers in Haifa, Israel shows that levels of certain compounds are higher in the breath analysis of patients who have stomach cancers. If the studies can prove that this nanoarray analysis of breath can help pinpoint stomach cancer it may become a common diagnostic tool.

2. Lung cancer

Currently to detect lung cancer doctors perform invasive procedures like biopsies, but soon doctors may be able to have a patient exhale and examine the volatile organic compounds in their breath to determine the probability of lung cancer.

3. Heart failure

In 2013, a paper was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showing that a simple breath test could be used to pinpoint patients with heart failure. While the test was not 100% accurate, it did distinguish which patients had heart failure and which had other cardiac conditions, and the results could be used to determine if further testing was needed.

4. Diabetes

When a diabetic has fruity smelling breath, it is an indicator that they are producing ketones.

5. Kidney Failure

Late stages of renal failure often can be detected because the breath of the patient starts to smell fishy. Some people compare the odor to that of urine. It is caused by toxic chemicals building up when the kidneys can no longer filter out the waste present.

6. Sleep apnea

The presence of a sour breath in the morning can be an indicator that the individual suffers from sleep apnea and breathes through the mouth during the night instead of through their nose.

7. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

When food is improperly processed by the stomach, it starts to decay and the smell of that decay is often present on the breath. Doctors also say that some stomach ulcers can produce a bacteria that causes bad breath.

8. Upper Respiratory Infections

Often people with upper respiratory infections have clogged noses and have to breathe primarily through their mouths. When this happens the instances of bad breath increase.

9. Tooth decay

People who have rotting teeth or who suffer from the gum disease of gingivitis often have bad breath that no amount of brushing will eliminate.

Useful Tools

These facts about breath make breath analysis useful tools in diagnosing other conditions. The breath analysis is not one hundred percent accurate on detecting any disease, but it could help doctors to decide if further testing was needed to rule out certain conditions.