What It Really Means When Your Breath Smells Like Fruit

Breath odor can be embarrassing. It can put off a date, ruin social interactions, and even affect your self-confidence. The best way to deal with bad breath is to avoid it altogether by regularly flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. But it's not always easy to tell if you have bad breath. Depending on your comfort level with friends or family, you could ask one of them to come close and sniff it out. If your breath smells unpleasant, then that's a problem you'll want to look into.

The technical term for bad breath is halitosis. It is often a sign of poor dental hygiene or deteriorating physiological health. According to experts at Healthline, bad breath can also be an indicator of issues in the oral tract, digestive tract, or metabolic processes.

Sometimes bodily odor can help us identify a health-related problem. Medical experts say that breath that smells of urine or ammonia indicates kidney-related issues. This type of condition is known as azotemia. Additionally, breath that smells like feces indicates the possibility of a bowel obstruction. You should seek medical help if the odor is accompanied by constipation, nausea, bloating, or vomiting. For people who suffer from liver-related issues, having a musty-smelling breath is common. But what if your breath smells like fruit? What does that fruity smell mean for our health? Is it a compliment? Let's find out.

Do not feel flattered if your breath smells fruity

Breath that smells like fruit may sound like a compliment, but it is actually more of an alarm. According to medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic, fruity breath means that your body is not functioning the way it is supposed to. Specifically, your body might be experiencing a chemical imbalance.

You develop fruit-scented breath when your body is not producing enough insulin — a hormone that converts sugar into glucose as fuel for your body. Without this fuel, your body fails to operate normally, resulting in health-related problems. 

When your body fails to produce insulin, as an alternative, it starts burning fat to fuel energy production. As a result of this process, an acid called ketone starts to accumulate in your bloodstream. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this can eventually lead to a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, the source of your fruit-scented breath.

Watch out for other symptoms of foul breath

Being mindful of symptoms will help you to know when to take action. According to WebMD, common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, fruity breath, fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath. 

Mayo Clinic medical professionals suggest that other contributing factors to foul odor include certain throat conditions, especially those involving the tonsils. The bacteria covering your tonsils produce a foul odor. Having a dry mouth may also cause bad breath when there is not enough saliva to remove these odor-producing particles and cleanse your mouth. This also explains why we sometimes wake up with "morning breath." Mouth sores, tooth decay, and gum disease may also lead to bad breath.

The best way to keep breath smelling fresh is to brush your teeth and tongue twice a day, floss regularly, stay hydrated, and take care of your oral hygiene. If bad breath continues to linger, you may have an underlying health issue and should contact your doctor.