Bad breath and body odor • What helps

Unpleasant bad breath or body odor is often associated with poor hygiene. Sometimes, however, there are serious illnesses behind it. Those affected usually do not seek medical help out of shame. What are the causes of bad breath and body odor?

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This is how the individual body odor is created

It is normal to sweat profusely in summer or after exercising. Sweat has an important physiological function: it cools the body down so that it can maintain a constant temperature. Sweat is actually odorless, only when bacteria multiply on the skin in a warm, humid environment do unpleasant odors develop.

Everyone smells different, especially when choosing a partner, the individual body odor plays an important role in attraction. The genes and the microbiome, i.e. the bacteria on the skin, are decisive for the individual odor. The more closely related people are to each other, the more similar they smell.

There are two types of sweat glands: The individual odor note is formed by the odor-forming (apocrine) sweat glands, which are mainly located in the armpits and genital area. They do not develop until puberty, which is why children do not yet have such a clear body odor. Apocrine sweating is controlled by hormones. In addition to water, however, apocrine sweat contains fat and protein; the individual body odor is created through bacterial decomposition of these components.

What are the causes of changes in body odor?

Even if the body odor is genetic, it can sometimes change. Foods that contribute to this include garlic and onions: The fumes are not only noticeable as bad breath, but also all over the body. Other herbs and spices can also temporarily change the individual smell.

Illnesses can also affect body odor, such as diabetes mellitus or liver diseases.

If the body odor changes noticeably and lastingly, urgent medical advice should be obtained. Increased sweating should also be clarified medically, hormonal causes such as thyroid disorders can be the cause.

Bad breath: what are the causes?

Unpleasant smelling air is often blamed on poor dental hygiene and, in fact, improper care is one of the most common causes of bad breath. The cleaning of the tongue, among other things, is often neglected: bacteria can multiply well on the rough surface, decompose food residues and produce the unpleasant-smelling gases as a metabolic product. It is therefore important not only to brush your teeth regularly, but also to clean your tongue and use dental floss to effectively get rid of food residues and bacteria and prevent bad breath.

In addition, the wrong foods, drinks and fasts can lead to bad breath. If the problem persists, the cause should be clarified by a doctor: Even if the trigger is often in the mouth itself and in the diet, diseases such as tonsillitis, diabetes mellitus and even tumors can also be the reason for the foul smelling breath. The first contact person can be the dentist.

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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