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What Could Your Parent's Halitosis Mean for Their Health?

August 4th, 2016

Senior Care in Stuart FL

Senior Care in Stuart FLAugust 6 is National Fresh Breath Day. When it comes to your aging parent, this day is about more than just making sure that they would be confident in a conversation with others. It can also be a time for you to possibly detect serious health issues and complications that could be happening within their body and going unnoticed. While the vast majority of cases of bad breath, or halitosis, are due to simple bad dental hygiene, there could be other, much more serious, issues at play as well.

Some things that bad breath could indicate about your parent's health include:

  • Stomach cancer. While this is not something that you are likely to determine just by smelling your parent's breath, unusual bad breath could be an indication that your parent has developed stomach cancer. Researchers are developing a breath test that can accurately detect stomach cancer far less invasively than the conventional endoscopy.
  • Lung cancer. If your parent suddenly has breath that is much worse than usual or does not seem to respond to usual methods of improving it, it could be an indication of lung cancer. Like with stomach cancer, science is currently working on finalizing a breath test that would use the compounds found in exhaled breath to detect the possible presence of lung cancer.
  • Diabetes. Different smell profiles within bad breath can be used to detect possible issues. For example, if your parent's breath smells fruity or resembles acetone, it could be an indication of diabetes. If your parent has not already been diagnosed with this condition, this could be a sign that it is time for them to see the doctor. If they have already been diagnosed and you detect these types of smells on their breath, it could mean that they are not managing their diabetes properly and may need to pay closer attention to their care and management efforts.
  • Kidney failure. If you catch a whiff of your parent's breath and it smells like fish or ammonia, it could be an indication of kidney failure. The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxic substances out of the blood, and if they are not working properly these substances can build up throughout the body. The waste products then create the bad smell in the breath.
  • Sour breath. If your parent's breath smells sour, particularly in the morning, it could be an indication that they are not getting a good night's sleep. This generally happens when they leave their mouth open for a long period, such as when snoring or suffering from sleep apnea, and the production of saliva slows. Talk to their doctor to get recommendations for how you can help them resolve these and other sleep disruptions.

If your parent has recently received a diagnosis of a serious health issue, or is just struggling to keep up with their dental hygiene needs, senior care may be a fantastic option. This senior home care services provider can create a personalized approach to care designed specifically to help your elderly parent meet their needs in a way that is right for them. This means that they will stay healthy, safe, and comfortable as they manage their needs, while also maintaining as much independence as possible. This protects their body as well as their mental and emotional health, and cognitive functioning.

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Stuart, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.

Topics: General Health